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Reflux Still

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  • abbotts1@vianet.net.au
    Hi I am relatively new to distilling, I have designed a reflux still but there are a few things I am unsure of. The first thing is I would like to use the
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1, 2001
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      Hi I am relatively new to distilling, I have designed a reflux still
      but there are a few things I am unsure of. The first thing is I would
      like to use the water out from the condenser and use it at the top of
      the column for some extra reflux, at the moment on my design I have
      the copper tubing from the water out being coiled around the outside
      of the top of the column. My question is would that be effective or
      is there a better way. The second thing I wanted to ask is how much
      of the column should be taken up with packing if I was to pot
      scrubbers. Thanks, hope to hear a reply.
      Chris.
    • Tony & Elle Ackland
      Chris, ... It can be reasonably effective - ways to improve it are to use metal (ie copper) tubing in contact with the top of the tower (rather than plastic -
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 1, 2001
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        Chris,

        > My question is would that be effective or is there a better way.

        It can be reasonably effective - ways to improve it are to use metal (ie
        copper) tubing in contact with the top of the tower (rather than plastic -
        which has such a low ability to transfer heat well), and then to braize it
        in place for even better contact. Obviously the more tube you have in
        contact with the tower, the more heat you will transfer.

        But this will only cool the vapour that is against the side of the column.
        The hit more of it, you want the cooling coils to be inside the column.
        You can do this easily by just putting in some "pass-through" tubes, or do
        even better and make a wee coiled setup inside there.

        Time to get on my hobby-horse again ... make sure that you do all this
        reflux cooling at the TOP of the column, not the base, if you want to make
        the most effective use of this refluxing liquid in stripping and purifying
        the rising vapour.

        To really help out as well, its nice to make sure that your refluxed liquid
        is being distributed evenly over the packing. One trouble of just doing
        the cooling around the outside is that the reflux starts off just running
        down the sides as well, instead of over the packing. Commercial columns
        (big ones) have redistributors every metre or so, to make sure that both
        the vapour and liquid are going through the packing evenly. You can do
        similar by having a perforated plate just below where the reflux is
        generated, to encourage it over the full width of the column.

        >The second thing I wanted to ask is how much of the
        >column should be taken up with packing if I was to pot scrubbers.

        The more the merrier ! The more height you have of them, the greater your
        final purity.
        See http://www.geocities.com/kiwi_distiller/refluxdesign.htm for an
        explaination of how this works.

        Just two points - 1) don't jam them in too tight - keep them loose enough
        to easily breath through, and 2) do have a bit of an airgap between them
        and your thermometer, so that it is measuring the VAPOUR temperature just
        prior to where it enters the final condensor, so that you get an accurate
        idea of its true temperature (and hence purity).

        Tony
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