Hello, V... I will try to convey to you what I think of this difference. Please read it carefully and care to Analise everything I write about.
In my understanding, the only thing what "vapor management" does, it stops diverting vapors to the side pipe when concentration of alcohol vapors in the water vapors is approaching or around 40% abv. Then most of the alcohol vapors, if it is still being evaporated, bypasses the side tube because you must increase the heat (correspondingly the speed of vapors increases) in order to make the remaining solution boil. Then water vapors carry alcohol vapors to the condensing coil mostly bypassing the side tube where heavier alcohol vapors used to fall under gravity law. So all of vapors will condense there at the coil level and fall back. Lacking a mechanism to catch this distillate the liquid will drop back in the rectifying column. Then the whole cycle starts over. In other words, you could recover alcohol up to and including the point when its concentration is around 40% abv. This number will vary with location and diameter of the side tube. To the best of my guessing, this is exactly
how PDA-1 is constructed. It is very economic solution because it does not need any internal workings inside the column. Basically it is two pipes, one larger and the other smaller, arranged at 90* angle. After that a simple Liebeg condenser outside does the condensing work. Of course it make me humble to think that some of ideas of this apparatus were conceived and borrowed from here, within domain of this forum. Again, I must say I can be wrong... ;-)
Liquid management goes further and allows to recover almost all of the alcohol in the solution. Thew mechanism to do just that is to increase the return reflux. When condensation of alcohol in the mix is low, vapors still carry it to the condensing coil and it is being condensed there. Then the device called "liquid separator" (DR, SR, EL and lately I constructed so dirt cheap system I call "2cups," read it as "two-cups," plus many more made by amateurs) catches the falling back liquid and re-directs it to the output spigot. This output can be regulated by a needle valve (for amateur apparatus). Of course, there is less alcohol in the late process vapors mix compared to the start of the process, but the beauty of this system is that you can reduce the take off rate (in other words increase the reflux -- the stuff falling back) and still get high concentration of output alcohol.
Not to say that one is better than another. Quality distilled alcohol is exactly the same from "liquid management" and "vapor management" apparatus. And then you still can dump the alcohol-rich leftovers from the "vapor management" system back in the next batch and recover it with the next distillation.
I investigated this and decided to settle with liquid management head. So far it works very very well. I hope now you understand the difference.
I'm very new here, I don't have a still, but I want to know something. But first, I want to explain why I'm asking. In a regular pot still, you can make regular 'schnapps', nothing stay in the way of the other substances to goes out together with the alcohol. In a controlled reflux one, the quality is very good but you
are loosing 'the taste'. So, to put all together, I found the valve reflux still being the middle way in between: with the reflux valve open, you have high quality, with closing it is a regular pot still. So, now the question: can the vapor management still provide the same functionality, to have both world in one pot? I'm asking that because I wasn't able till now to find the specs for a VM still. Thx, V
I can be wrong I must say
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