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Re: [Distillers] expressions

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  • Mike Nixon
    Johan wrote: Subject: [Distillers] expressions About expressions in English, in Swedish a fractionating column is a column that uses a fractionating
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 29, 2003
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      Johan wrote:
      Subject: [Distillers] expressions

      About expressions in English, in Swedish a fractionating column is a column that uses a fractionating distillation and that means a distillation using packing or bottoms with reflux running over it.

      Reflux still and compound still, is not something that exists in Swedish. Are those expressions “scientific” expressions or something invented by homebrewers?
      Hi Johan,
      "Fractionating column" = "reflux column", but the first term is usually used when talking about very large commercial columns where different fractions are extracted at different points up the column.  We amateurs almost invariably extract only what gets to the top, and this is the lightest fraction at any particular time.
      Reflux stills and compound stills both use a reflux column as the main separator, the difference being that a reflux still relies solely on this.  In contrast, a compound still has an extra separator set on top of the reflux column.  This extra separator enhances the separation by continuously recycling the vapor that arrives at the top.  Such an arrangement that has two different types of separator working together is, in effect, two stills ... one sitting on top of the other ... hence "compound" as opposed to "single".
      On the subject of terms, Wal has recently raised the question of whether "cooling" or "heat" should be included in terms we use by calling that "cooling management" and "heating management.
      If I may stick my oar in here, my personal opinion (nothing more) is that this would be inaccurate and possibly confusing.  I used the term "management" to describe the different ways in which the product of a still could be handled, or managed.  This can be done in two ways ... by dealing with the vapor that arrives at the top, or by dealing with that vapor after it has been condensed to a liquid.  In both cases, the sole purpose is to manage what you do with what you get coming out of the still.
      Controlling what happens deep inside the column is a totally different matter to managing what comes out the top.  Returning a proportion of that doesn't 'control' anything that happens in the body of the column as it is revaporized almost immediately and stays at the top of the column.
      Varying the heat input to the boiler controls the rate at which vapor is fed to the column and therefore the speed at which it travels inside, and cooling the outside of column controls the amount of vapor that condenses on the walls of that column.  "Heating control" and "Cooling control" would therefore seem to be fairly accurate descriptions of actions that control what goes on inside the main body of the column. 
      It may seem to be nitpicking, but I really believe, for clarity, that the term "control" should be reserved for actions that affect what happens inside the column, and "management" for what you do with what leaves it. For example, if you take part of what gets out the top as your product, and you then subject that product to dilution, cleaning, flavoring, etc, are you "controlling" that product or "managing" it?  Managing is definitely NOT necessarily controlling ... I have know some highly paid Managers who couldn't control anything!  Good enough reason I reckon  to restrict "Management" to just two functions ...  LM and VM   :-)
      Mike N
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