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Heat Sources For Distilling

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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby S-Cackalacky » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:23 am

Still seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference between power input and wash temperature as related to running a still. I think it's been made fairly clear in this thread and hundreds of others like it in several different forums, that you can't control output by wash temperature. The boiling point of the wash is determined by the mix of its components and trying to draw off particular components of a wash by bringing the wash to the boiling point of that particular component is a futile endeavor. If you believe that you can control the takeoff by temperature, you've probably been watching too many Youtube videos.

Using a simple electric powered pot still as an example, the boil is controlled by the heat input of the heating element. The amount of product coming from the product condenser is controlled by the intensity of the boil (NOT ITS TEMPERATURE). The intensity of the boil is controlled by the amount of power (voltage) applied to the heating element. The more vigorous the boil, the larger the stream coming from the condenser. Along with a vigorous boil comes something called entrainment which means that components of the wash with higher boiling points can be forced into to vapor output. If you are into heads, hearts can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. If you are into hearts, tails can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. This effect is commonly called "smearing". This is why it's important to control the intensity of the boil. The intensity of the boil is best judged by the amount of liquid leaving the condenser. Learning to control the output of a pot still is key to accomplishing good cuts (heads, hearts, and tails). When the proper output stream is accomplished, the voltage should be maintained at that point to keep a constant stream of output flowing. A voltage controller is the tool for the job.

If using gas heat, the same principles apply. The gas valve serves the same purpose as the voltage controller.

When using a thermometer at the top of a reflux column, it can be helpful in determining cuts transitions. A thermometer in a boiler serves no other purpose than to tell you when the wash is getting hot.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby punkin » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:41 pm

Suzukidave wrote:
minime wrote:Yes sir you really ARE confused
Are you just joking with me as PID controller's are used a lot , i was just looking for input on best place to put the sensor ?


Pids are used widely in the brewing community as they use set temperatures for mashing etc. This is possible because a mash temp is below the temperature that the mash will boil at so the controller is used to feed power to the element to keep it at the lower temperature. (say 66C).

In distilling they are not used so widely as you cannot control the temperature that a liquid boils at so when you need it to boil to produce the vapour that we need it's temperature is determined by the makeup of the mash.

The easiest way to get your head around it is. Water will boil in a pot on the stove at 100c at sea level. If you turn the burner up full then that water will boil more and more vigorously, but it will never exceed 100c of course.
Add some alcohol to that water and it will start to boil at a lower temp as alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, lets say 90C. Turn the heat up and it will not get past 90c until the alcohol starts to leave the pot and then the temp will gradually rise.

If you turn the heat down to the pot lower than the boiling point the only thing that happens is it stops producing vapour. Not much of a result when the vapour is what you are trying to harvest.

What you need to control is the power input to the boiler as then you are controlling the amount of vapour produced so you can collect it at the speed you want. It's a pretty important distinction.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby punkin » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:48 pm

Addison wrote:Well then, here we are after my original post and it appears to have caused some argument, maybe it is a language or a cultural thing? Fuck knows, who cares.

So to come back to the original posting and all that entails, are you 15-litre stills using gas or electric?


There's no argument, this is the newbie section and these types of discussion are expected. You yourself talked about controlling temperature in your original post in this thread.

It is an important distinction as i said (not realising S cack had already posted) and although often explained it seems a lot of people miss it.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Suzukidave » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:07 pm

I did learn something here then .. to set aside my PID controller and get a much more simple voltage controller :) thanx guys :8)
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby punkin » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:34 pm

That's what we're here for.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Addison » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:26 am

punkin wrote:
Addison wrote:Well then, here we are after my original post and it appears to have caused some argument, maybe it is a language or a cultural thing? Fuck knows, who cares.

So to come back to the original posting and all that entails, are you 15-litre stills using gas or electric?


There's no argument, this is the newbie section and these types of discussion are expected. You yourself talked about controlling temperature in your original post in this thread.

It is an important distinction as i said (not realising S cack had already posted) and although often explained it seems a lot of people miss it.



Yes, I noted that Punkin.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Swedish Pride » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:35 am

Addison wrote:
punkin wrote:
Addison wrote:Well then, here we are after my original post and it appears to have caused some argument, maybe it is a language or a cultural thing? Fuck knows, who cares.

So to come back to the original posting and all that entails, are you 15-litre stills using gas or electric?


There's no argument, this is the newbie section and these types of discussion are expected. You yourself talked about controlling temperature in your original post in this thread.

It is an important distinction as i said (not realising S cack had already posted) and although often explained it seems a lot of people miss it.



Yes, I noted that Punkin.


when I had a 10l pot i ran it on the electric cooker, was not ideal, but what I had at hand, if you are happy with 15l, I bet you'd be happier with a wee internal element, makes heat up quicker plus you can add a controller to get good control of the output rate.

Personally the small still was breaking my heart with the tiny strip runs to get a spirit run, much happier now with the keg still.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Addison » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:04 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:Still seems to be a lot of confusion about the difference between power input and wash temperature as related to running a still. I think it's been made fairly clear in this thread and hundreds of others like it in several different forums, that you can't control output by wash temperature. The boiling point of the wash is determined by the mix of its components and trying to draw off particular components of a wash by bringing the wash to the boiling point of that particular component is a futile endeavor. If you believe that you can control the takeoff by temperature, you've probably been watching too many Youtube videos.

Using a simple electric powered pot still as an example, the boil is controlled by the heat input of the heating element. The amount of product coming from the product condenser is controlled by the intensity of the boil (NOT ITS TEMPERATURE). The intensity of the boil is controlled by the amount of power (voltage) applied to the heating element. The more vigorous the boil, the larger the stream coming from the condenser. Along with a vigorous boil comes something called entrainment which means that components of the wash with higher boiling points can be forced into to vapor output. If you are into heads, hearts can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. If you are into hearts, tails can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. This effect is commonly called "smearing". This is why it's important to control the intensity of the boil. The intensity of the boil is best judged by the amount of liquid leaving the condenser. Learning to control the output of a pot still is key to accomplishing good cuts (heads, hearts, and tails). When the proper output stream is accomplished, the voltage should be maintained at that point to keep a constant stream of output flow. A voltage controller is a tool for the job.

If using gas heat, the same principles apply. The gas valve serves the same purpose as the voltage controller.

I can see after several weeks of trolling through the ranks, you experienced members, yet again, will keep up newbies in control

When using a thermometer at the top of a reflux column, it can be helpful in determining cuts transitions. A thermometer in a boiler serves no other purpose than to tell you when the wash is getting hot.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby zedzedtop » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:18 pm

Just run the controller on manual mode and set the %power to whatever you want.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Copperhead road » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:42 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:To put it a different way - run the fores and heads as slow as possible (drips) to prevent them from smearing into the hearts that come after them. Once the heads are removed, it's safe to speed the output up a little bit. Most would say to run a broken stream from the takeoff during hearts. Don't try to control a pot still by temperature.
.

Tis the way I was thought and still use that same strategy weather it be a column or pot still. :rkn:
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Saltbush Bill » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:58 am

S-Cackalacky wrote: Along with a vigorous boil comes something called entrainment which means that components of the wash with higher boiling points can be forced into to vapor output. If you are into heads, hearts can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. If you are into hearts, tails can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. This effect is commonly called "smearing". This is why it's important to control the intensity of the boil.

Distilling seems such a simple thing to begin with, the more you learn, the more you know you need to learn, and then you learn that there is heaps more to learn. :doh:
A little thing to think about that can and does relate to distilling , smearing and the way we make cuts .......how does / why does a dish of water or any other liquid evaporate without ever boiling ? Can this help us understand some basic concepts about distilling ?
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Addison » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:01 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
S-Cackalacky wrote: Along with a vigorous boil comes something called entrainment which means that components of the wash with higher boiling points can be forced into to vapor output. If you are into heads, hearts can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. If you are into hearts, tails can be forced into the vapor by entrainment. This effect is commonly called "smearing". This is why it's important to control the intensity of the boil.

Distilling seems such a simple thing to begin with, the more you learn, the more you know you need to learn, and then you learn that there is heaps more to learn. :doh:
A little thing to think about that can and does relate to distilling , smearing and the way we make cuts .......how does / why does a dish of water or any other liquid evaporate without ever boiling ? Can this help us understand some basic concepts about distilling ?



You have to got to expand on that statement Saltbush :D
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby The Baker » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:03 pm

Saltbush said, 'why does a dish of water or any other liquid evaporate without ever boiling ? Can this help us understand some basic concepts about distilling ?'
I asked the question on the interweb and there are good explanations. This is basic;
'Evaporation is a different process to boiling. The first is a surface effect that can happen at any temperature, while the latter is a bulk transformation that only happens when the conditions are correct.'

I was given a couple of big pyrex bowls from a milking machine, about 20 litres each with big holes top and bottom and maybe four inch holes, on each side.
One day, when I have caught up with my other chores and projects (this would amuse my wife if she ever saw it) I will mount them on wheels, either side by side or one above the other, and set them up as a solar still. It's got to be possible....

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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:53 pm

The best explanation of boiling I know is that when the vapor pressure of a liquid reaches the ambient atmospheric pressure, the liquid boils.
For any single volatile liquid, the vapor pressure goes up as the temperature goes up. For any mixture of volatile liquids (what we deal with) each component liquid has a vapor pressure dependent on the vapor pressure of that liquid at that temperature, and the fraction (specifically the mole fraction) of that component liquid in the total mixture. When the sum of all those partial vapor pressures add up to the ambient atmospheric pressure the mixture boils.
Of course, once the mixture boils, it vaporizes at a rate determined by the rate of heat you input tot he system.
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Re: Heat Sources For Distilling

Postby The Baker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:18 pm

The Baker wrote:Saltbush said, 'why does a dish of water or any other liquid evaporate without ever boiling ? Can this help us understand some basic concepts about distilling ?'
I asked the question on the interweb and there are good explanations. This is basic;
'Evaporation is a different process to boiling. The first is a surface effect that can happen at any temperature, while the latter is a bulk transformation that only happens when the conditions are correct.'

I was given a couple of big pyrex bowls from a milking machine, about 20 litres each with big holes top and bottom and maybe four inch holes, on each side.
One day, when I have caught up with my other chores and projects (this would amuse my wife if she ever saw it) I will mount them on wheels, either side by side or one above the other, and set them up as a solar still. It's got to be possible....

Geoff


Of course my comment about a solar still is directly related to Saltbush's question, 'Can this help us understand some basic concepts about distilling ?'.

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