Nice one Ray. Most amusing. Good to see that we're getting
a bit of humour into this List. So marbles slow down the passage
of the vapour and water selectively condenses out and falls back
into the pot whilst pure ethanol continues on its merry way.
At last, we can dispense with fractionating columns, reflux,
and all that bothersome stuff. Pure ethanol at a stroke!
No doubt it is all helped along by the fact established by Aristotle
(and therefore not to be questioned) that heavy objects fall faster
than light ones, so water which is heavier than ethanol gets a little
I apologise if this seems a bit like a flame Ray, but it just doesn't
work that way. Personally, I agree with Brian that marbles should
be given to the kids to play with and raschig rings made into necklaces.
Neither come anywhere near the surface area per volume that stainless
steel or brass scrubbers give. A simple bit of maths confirms his
comparative figures for the surface area per volume ratios. In
consequence, 'we in New Zealand' do not all use marbles as spheres
are the most inefficient shape you can have for a packing material
(simple maths again). If anyone out there wants to know how distillation
really works (and I'll even throw in a bit about gravity if you like), they
can contact me direct at mike@...
and I will be happy to
send them a pdf file of an article I've just written about how distillation
really works. Does this article contain accurate information? Feel free
to confirm it with any chemist, physicist, technical college, university,
oil company, pharmaceuticals company, etc etc you like. Or just check
out any good text book from your local library.