Re: new idea for a still
- Hi Rob,
Years ago I had a company that manufactured optical fibers. We were involved in many different types of distillation one of them that I experimented with was to make a flash distillation unit. A hot polymer was injected into a chamber under pressure while simultaneously a vacuum was pulled on the chamber. This worked but only after considerable debugging. There are many issues that come up when you try this... like foaming, condensing and being able to spray the distillate into the chamber without everything becoming plugged up. But it does work and will work on whatever scale you wish to commit to. The devolitizing chamber in a extruder is an example.
While we're on the topic there is one system if you wish to strip quickly that I think would also work well. I also built one of these. It involves taking something that looks like a flower pot and turning it upside down... this then goes inside of the vacuum chamber and is rotated at a few hundred RPM. The metallic flowerpot is heated by infrared heaters. The distillate then comes into the chamber and falls on a spinning plate inside the flowerpot... the distillate, being flung to the outer walls of the flowerpot is immediately vaporized with the heaver components descending to a collection flask. The heat exchange is pretty good for a system like this.
In both of these systems I should mention that hot ethanol vapor in the presence of oxygen with the addition of the spark will detonate. This is how automobiles work. So you want to make sure that you don't have an atmosphere of oxygen inside of your system.