Safety (was) Re: Diluting and stripping...
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Robert Thomas
> Morgan's pretty much said it:
> for safety, dilute to make sure internal elements are covered.
> As to burners, if it's gonna blow, it's gonna blow!
> If you are purifying, there are good reasons to dilute the brew
> I'm in a hurry),the
> if just concentrating, use the strongest you've got while noting
> safety issues.Things to keep in mind when choosing still operating methods:
Proof and overproof spirit burns in the presence of air. Underproof
does not. If there's a leakage, I'd much rather have underproof in
Until all the air is purged from a still via rising vapours, ethanol
vapour is in contact with air either in the boiler headspace or in
the column. Fuels such as ethanol need air (oxygen) to burn.
Any source of ignition can set fire to this ethanol/air mixture.
That includes potential spark sources such as exposed heating
elements, contact points for switches, electrically-driven
monitoring equipment e.g. temp gauges, solenoids etc.
Once the air is purged, the still column internals are safe from
Ethanol vapour is like gasoline fumes. When cool, they descend to
ground level & creep. Any poorly run or unattended still shooting
vapour into the atmosphere past the condenser is gonna fill the area
with this fuel and bring it into contact with air. Propane loves
this mix. Flesh and bone do not.
Remember, even commercial still columns occasionally have fires, in
spite of all the precautions. So the bottom line is...THINK AHEAD.
Reduce the sources of fire, and have a fire extinguisher handy.