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> Mercury Vacuum Still -- Gimmick?
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post Sep 7 2012, 08:07 PM
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http://greenhookgin.com/process.html


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Tibro
post Sep 7 2012, 08:30 PM
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Lab vacuum apparati often use oil. Their application is generally designed for stills accommodating a few liters. A vacuum apparaatus meant to accommodate a 300 liter still may/could well use mercury, I suppose. I'd be curious to know more details of the set up.


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L'Assommoir
post Sep 7 2012, 08:32 PM
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Here is a whole line of low-temp/pressure booze, including an absinthe.

http://www.masterofmalt.com/distilleries/p…randed-spirits/

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Tibro
post Sep 7 2012, 08:40 PM
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Where does it say vacuum distillation is used for all those samples? More importantly, where do they have info about their vacuum distillation equipment and the process they employ?


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L'Assommoir
post Sep 7 2012, 09:07 PM
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It looks like I read that wrong.
only the absinthe is rotovap, I guess.

so for the absinthe:
http://www.masterofmalt.com/Blog/post/Cold…d-Absinthe.aspx
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Tibro
post Sep 7 2012, 09:17 PM
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Rotovap? I'm not so sure. In any case, it doesn't look like they're anywhere close to 300 liters.


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post Sep 7 2012, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE(Tibro @ Sep 7 2012, 12:30 PM) *
A vacuum apparaatus meant to accommodate a 300 liter still may/could well use mercury

They should use it to make Mad As A Hatter Absinthe.


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Tibro
post Sep 7 2012, 09:56 PM
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Or Dead as a Doornail Absinth advocating the flaming boh_mian method.


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Artemis
post Sep 8 2012, 04:24 PM
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The Greenhook page is nothing but bad advertising copy. There's no such thing as a "mercury vacuum still". A column of mercury (a metal in liquid phase) was originally used to measure atmospheric pressure. It's roughly 30 inches high at normal pressure. It's shorter at lower pressures. These days an analog or digital gauge is used. Note the picture of the analog gauge that goes from zero to thirty on that same page.

The bath for a rotary evaporator could be water or oil. The bigger the boil vessel, the bigger the bath, but three liters is big for a table top evaporator.

The pictures on the masterofmalt page show a (relatively) cheap evaporator, although I can't be 100% sure it's rotary because I don't see the motor.

An evaporator isn't strictly speaking a still, although it makes use of the same physical principles of evaporation and condensation. An evaporator doesn't have to be rotary, and introducing a vacuum (reduced internal system pressure) into a still could be done with an ordinary pot still.

What the rotation does is provide a thin layer of liquid on the upper surface of the rotating boil flask that more readily changes phase to vapor than the surface of the boiling stuff in the rest of the flask. Think of an even film of water on the windshield of your car versus the surface of a lake in a storm. Since the flask is constantly rotating, that calm quiet layer of consistent thickness is continuously made available to the system for phase change.

Twenty liters would be a very big rotary evaporator. I think those exist, but 300 liters? I don't think so. The motor needed to spin that thing would power a Corvair.


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post Sep 8 2012, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE
An evaporator isn't strictly speaking a still, although it makes use of the same physical principles of evaporation and condensation.

The technical difference(s) being what, if I may ask?


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post Sep 8 2012, 07:47 PM
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An evaporator is designed to evaporate solvent from a substance in the boil flask with the intent of "cleaning" (for lack of any better word that comes to mind) and then retrieving said substance. The solvent which is evaporated as vapor and then condensed back to liquid is discarded (or maybe recycled for further use, I don't know). When you use it to make an herbal liquor, such as absinthe, it's a sort of backasswards use. The solvents (ethanol and water) carrying the scent molecules are retained after condensation as distillate and it's the stuff left in the boil flask that is discarded. So the difference between an evaporator used for its designed function and used as a still is a matter of from which end of the apparatus you retrieve the good stuff, so to speak. But since it works like a still, it could be called a still.


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post Sep 8 2012, 08:07 PM
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Semantics, me thinks.

Functionally in both cases, conventional still vs. evaporator, you put a mixture of fluids which you wish to separate and with the purpose of collecting a desired fraction in purified form. Whether the desired fraction is left in the pot or whether it comes over as the collected condensate seems irrelevant to me. The process is the same. You are separating a mixture according to boiling points. Boiling point being a crude term, but generally understandable and not misleading, for what the process is doing. In layman's terms they're not really different at all, as far as the end result of collecting a desired liquid in a purified state compared to the messy admixture you start with.


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Artemis
post Sep 8 2012, 08:28 PM
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QUOTE
Whether the desired fraction is left in the pot or whether it comes over as the collected condensate seems irrelevant to me.

Except that if the "desired fraction" is a solid, you're not going to find it at the collection end of the process. The intent is entirely relevant to the selection of the device to be used for the process (still vs. evaporator).
QUOTE
In layman's terms they're not really different at all, as far as the end result of collecting a desired liquid in a purified state compared to the messy admixture you start with.

See above. The desired part is liquid in the case of absinthe, but that's not necessarily so with other things that are purified by evaporation, in which case the solvent is only a tool and not what's being sought as a final product.
It's not semantics, it's calling a spade a spade. Sometimes you can get a spade's work done with a hoe, but that don't make it so, ya know?


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post Sep 8 2012, 08:47 PM
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If I want to separate dirt from river mud I should use a vacuum still?

Semantics, yes. I can evaporate the liquid by laying the muck on the shore and letting the atmosphere do the work.

But aren't vacuum stills used to obtain those oh so desirable hydrocarbon fuels we're all so dependent on? The fractions of which come across at different points and which we use, not the sludge left behind.


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Artemis
post Sep 8 2012, 09:24 PM
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QUOTE
If I want to separate dirt from river mud I should use a vacuum still?

No, you should use a rotary evaporator.
QUOTE
I can evaporate the liquid by laying the muck on the shore and letting the atmosphere do the work.

And the wind and the waves and the seagulls will also do their work. Depends upon whether seagull shit and washed-up condoms are desired in your your dirt, I guess.
QUOTE
But aren't vacuum stills used to obtain those oh so desirable hydrocarbon fuels we're all so dependent on?

I don't know, but the vacuum is irrelevant in the discussion of evaporator vs. still for dedicated purposes.


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