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Pleroma
05-13-2013, 02:49 AM
Hello,
Does anyone know any distillation vessel that can be used to distill spirits of salts, plants, minerals or whatever without the use a cooler and ice? And also to capture volatile salts.
I was thinking a tribikos from Maria the jewess made of copper? I've read about some setups in the book of art of distillation : HOW TO MAKE A FURNACE THAT SHALL OF ITSELF WITHOUT ANY VESSELS WHICH SHOULD CONTAIN THE MATTER BEING PUT INTO IT SUBLIME MINERALS AND DISTILL ALL MANNER OF OILS AND SPIRITS OUT OF MINERALS, VEGETABLES, AND ANIMALS AND THAT IN A VERY GREAT QUANTITY IN A VERY SHORT TIME AND WITH SMALL COST

The furnace is made as follows. It may be made of one piece by a potter or of brick, round or four-square, greater or lesser as you please. If the inside be one span broad in the middle, it must be high, one for the ash hole, another above the grate to the middle coal hole and two above the pipe. This pipe, being made of earth or iron, must be a span long between the furnace and the receiver, and a third part as wide as the furnace within.
The recipients must be made of glass or very good earth well luted together, the greater the better.


The First Figure



The Second Figure



A. Signifies the ash hole which must be as wide as the furnace and always open that the fire may burn the stronger.
B The middle hole of the furnace for the putting in of coals.
C. The stopple made of stone.
D. The upper hole of the furnace with a false bottom wherein sand lies which is there lain that the cover may lie the closer and keep in the fumes the better.
E. The cover which must be presently clapped on as soon as the matter to be distilled is put in.
F. The pipe which goes out of the furnace and to which the receiver is fitted.
G. The first recipient for flowers.
H. The second.
I. The third.
K. A stool whereon the first recipient rests, in the midst whereof is a hole, through which goes the neck of the recipient to which another glass is fitted.
L. The glass fitted to the recipient for the uniting the spirits that drop down.
M. Another recipient united to the former glass and into which the united spirits do run.
N. A stool through the middle of which goes a screw for the raising of that glass, which is set under the first recipient, higher or lower.
P. The grate with two thick iron bars which lie fast, upon which four or five thinner are laid which may be stirred when the furnace is made clean.

Thus far the first of the figures is explained, by which you may see how sublimation and distillation are made at one time, viz., of those things which will yield both flowers and spirits (the flowers sticking in the three upper recipients and the spirits dropping down into the lower).
Now follows the explanations of the second figure which is the same with the former in respect to the furnace itself, but differing in respect of the recipients which serve for the receiving of the spirits and oils of such things as yield no flowers. Therefore I shall begin with the explanation of the receivers.

G. The first crooked pipe as it is fitted to the pipe that comes out of the furnace.
H. The recipient with its cover in which is one hole for one crooked pipe to go through, as you may see in the first H, and two holes for two pipes to go through, as you may see in the second H, and in HH.
Note that these pipes may either be fastened to the cover, being all of one piece, or they must be well luted, that no vapors may pass through. Now you must conceive that in the lower receivers the vapor that goes out of the first pipe goes first into the receiver, then out of that into the next pipe and so forward until it comes into the last receiver, by which means it is much cooled (for indeed such vapors that come out of the furnace, especially when some materials are distilled, if there were not some such art to cool them would break all recipients).
I. A tub of water wherein the recipient stands to cool the vapors and condense them.
K. The first crooked pipe as it goes into the recipient.L. The second crooked pipe, whereof one end goes into one receiver, and another end into another.
M. The last crooked pipe to which you must annex a receiver.

Now the manner of distilling is thus. Let the furnace be full of coals well kindled, then cast on your matter, and stop your furnace close. This furnace needs no retort or other vessels to be set into it. Neither can you do any hurt by too much or too little fire, and you may finish your operation when you please and in one hour try diverse experiments. It saves very much time and cost, and in one hour will do as much as can be done in another furnace in twenty-four. In one hour you may make a pound of spirit of salt with four or five pounds of coals, and as much flowers of antimony in a like space of time, and with as few coals.
If your materials be vegetables, or horn, or bones, cut them small. If hard minerals, let them be powdered very small. If salts, let them be first dissolved in water, which water must be imbibed with red hot coals until all the liquor be imbibed. Then cast in those coals into the furnace.
If you would by this means procure the spirit of hard minerals, as of antimony, and you must take them as they come from the mine, before they have passed the fire.
By this furnace you may make the spirits of such things which will not yield them in any other way.
Note that such oils and spirits as are drawn by this furnace must be rectified in spirit of salt, as I have shown.

Any ideas? Or better yet if you actually made and experimented with such setups.

Axismundi000
05-13-2013, 10:58 AM
I got a couple of 500ml glass retorts from ebay, they would do it as long as you are careful and precisely control degree of heating.

thoth
05-13-2013, 09:41 PM
The alembics are much more efficient. The biggest the better. They are a bit more expensive. Neubert in Germany do them. If you come accross any on ebay maybe let us know

Pleroma
05-13-2013, 10:04 PM
I see that you posted this on another thread.

http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=&to=en&a=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.neubert-glas.de%2Flaborglas%2Fonlineshop%2Fkatalog_php%2F1 _995727484085_1295695453648%2F1295695860316%2FAlem bik-alchemistischer-Helm.html%3FPHPSESSID%3D07ec86d83d00222dd2cc04a0ad 223f78

Draconisnova
05-14-2013, 10:59 AM
This is a good design, is a japanese alembic or rambiki or distillation apparatus, you can cool down the top with water or ice and you can ask this to be made in ceramic for you, glass designs are very expensive.

http://www.tdsmeter.com/img/distillation1.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ranbiki.JPG

Neubert have very good quality glass products, i own a alembic from them, my advice is buy one with a very large ground joint (45/40) a shame they don't make the joint larger, since will be much easier to extract volatile matters from the bulb, and even for cleaning. Neubert can as well custom made your glass aparatus, but of course everything is custom made is very expensive.

I have try this model to be produced in lab glass, but is very expensive, i almost give up, maybe it can work with ceramic.

http://i40.tinypic.com/14e6yyh.jpg

And this is one of my designs for a cheap retort type apparatus, you just need a common round bottom flask, and this curved tube to work as a distillation apparatus, and it's production is very cheap. A very simple and cheap alternative for a glass retort. I have not try yet this last design, but if any of you like the idea, feel free to reproduce it.

http://i42.tinypic.com/24bt4eb.jpg

thrival
05-17-2013, 06:49 AM
Draconisnova:

I like your japanese design, the way the head fits inside the distillation vessel, but I would include an integral skirt, ring or collar that fits over the lower part as well, to which a thin bead of damp clay can be added before use, to get a good seal. Ceramic joints that seal as well as ground glass, and yet big enough to get your hand in for cleaning, aren't easy to accomplish for beginning potters. A joint that leaks obviates your experiments. Large sealed heads are a beotch to clean! When material crystallizes, how will you get in with a brush or see inside?! Also I would keep the snort as short as possible to prevent breakage, you can always lute a removable ceramic, glass or teflon tube w/teflon tape as an aperture. Also, round bottoms look elegant and might work for direct flame but grills, stoves and electric heating elements are flat.

Did you see my ceramic collar idea under this Equipment category, "Lutings, Ancient & modern?" While crude, It solves several problems and lets you operate with some cheap "off-the-shelf" parts.

The bent piece of glass pipe is a great idea. I wish someone would make a ceramic quick-release coupler.

Axismundi000
05-17-2013, 08:05 AM
A modern distillation train is better then these because of the cooling in the condenser stage. However a basic retort will achieve the same if carefully used, as long as you do not need an airtight system and I saw some unused retorts on Ebay for less the 40 including postage (uk). Alembic's cost hundreds but then so do modern distillation trains, however a good pump and tubing is also needed to run the condenser stage.

thrival
05-17-2013, 02:37 PM
Hello,
Does anyone know any distillation vessel that can be used to distill spirits of salts, plants, minerals or whatever without the use a cooler and ice? And also to capture volatile salts.

Pleroma:

To respond to your original post, so long as you're not distilling corrosive acids, you can get away with tempered jars and jugs. (Tempering is accomplished by boiling glassware for 8 hours and letting it cool slowly.) Rubber stoppers with threaded lamp rod passing through, bike tubes cut into bands to hold the stoppers in, works for me. Plastic coiled pneumatic air hose is made of nylon (melting point 650F) is cheap, non-reactive, from Harbor-Freight or hardware stores. I use spark plug boots & elbows to transition between different hose sizes. If you are going to distill acids, study up, do not presume certain materials are "safe" until you check, or you will be in for nasty surprises.

Krisztian
05-17-2013, 03:42 PM
The alembics are much more efficient. The biggest the better. They are a bit more expensive. Neubert in Germany do them. If you come accross any on ebay maybe let us know

Gary Stadler of Scientific Glass also makes alembics based on older designs, if you're located in North America. I've made him make one that has much longer beak. Contact info: http://www.scientific-glass.com/contact.html


. . . my advice is buy one with a very large ground joint (45/40) a shame they don't make the joint larger, since will be much easier to extract volatile matters from the bulb, and even for cleaning. . . .

Yes, those were my sentiments also. 45/50 is better than the traditional 24/40.

thoth
05-20-2013, 10:15 PM
Gary Stadler of Scientific Glass also makes alembics based on older designs, if you're located in North America. I've made him make one that has much longer beak. Contact info: http://www.scientific-glass.com/contact.html



Thanks Krisztian. Thats useful contact to have if I cant find local. The Customs duties from outside the EU is the downside. Yea I think its really down to trying to find a local glassblower.

Krisztian
05-21-2013, 02:14 AM
Yea I think its really down to trying to find a local glassblower.

Befriend a retired glassblower who would do this for pleasure. Ask locals. Look around.

I have mine displayed, well, a photo of it, under Ora et labora section of My Profile. It doesn't have that pencil-sized beak either, which is a rather modern interpretation of an alembic head. Any tiny detail matters to the release of energy, and circulation of liquids, the physics of internal pressure and separation, the falling and rising of liquids, the natural cooling effect (of a longer beak), etc.

Draconisnova
05-21-2013, 10:05 AM
I have found 2 new glassblowers in my country, but one of them a traditional one, don't work with scientific glass, the other does. The traditional is willing to try to make me the alembic with flask, for about 250, and the bend tube for 60. I don't know if i accept is offer or not, i'm afraid that the glass could break under a moderate heat during calcination, the other tube is not so big deal, since is not that expensive, and will not be subjected to high temperatures, only the flask that it will be attached.
The other glassblower is a company that produce scientific glassware, but they completely mess my technical draws, it don't look like a alembic no more, i doubt they even know what an alembic is! But they price is not that high for a custom alembic and round bottom flask, about 350. Just for price comparison one company i use before with good results and decent prices, ask me 1700 to produce the same piece.

What you guys think, can i risk using common glass for my alchemical glassware? Or is trow money on garbage?

thoth
05-21-2013, 07:27 PM
Hi Draconisnova,

I would not use anything other than borosilicate for the boiling flask, especially if using mantles, as it will almost certainly crack (buy cheap buy twice !), but if you can source boro boiling flask which should be easy enough, you could get away with non boro alembic.

It interesting how much more efficient an alembic is over a retort. i think its basicly having as big a surface area as possible for the enclosed vapors to collide with and so condense, then just roll down the walls until the beads of water hit a rim which will direct them to the output spout.


1700 euros is way over the top. Look at Neuberts alembics - around 250. They are in Germany.
They may do custom stuff - I never asked, but they are top quality.

Finding a local glassblower is like part of the quest :)

Draconisnova
05-21-2013, 10:29 PM
Hi Draconisnova,

I would not use anything other than borosilicate for the boiling flask, especially if using mantles, as it will almost certainly crack (buy cheap buy twice !), but if you can source boro boiling flask which should be easy enough, you could get away with non boro alembic.

It interesting how much more efficient an alembic is over a retort. i think its basicly having as big a surface area as possible for the enclosed vapors to collide with and so condense, then just roll down the walls until the beads of water hit a rim which will direct them to the output spout.


1700 euros is way over the top. Look at Neuberts alembics - around 250. They are in Germany.
They may do custom stuff - I never asked, but they are top quality.

Finding a local glassblower is like part of the quest :)

Hello Thoth,

I put that option on the table as well, to make the boiling flask in boro, and the alembic in cheap glass. And this issue is delay my next GW. I think asking to this more traditional glassblower if he can reshape a 1000 ml glass flask for me, in fact the only thing he need to do is reshape the joint, i think it may be possible. I have found many videos on YouTube of glassblower fixing scientific glass.

Well you need to consider what alembics and retorts should be used for, this two quotes from the Golden Chain of Homer will clarify.

Most artists distill the vinegar in an alembic through the head, and in that way only the subtlest Spinitus * volatilie goes over together with the Phlegma. Some now use this for all works, while it is yet so weak that it easily proves its weakness when it is tasted on the tongue. It tastes like Phlegna, except that it still has a slight taste which testifies that it had retained something of the vinegar. Should they drive more strongly, however, that is through the retort, they obtain a stronger vinegar but stinking of oil and of a burnt smell.

Furthermore, that the work of the philosophers is done in one vessel, is right. I myself have no more
than one alembic, and for the sake of speed, at times a retort to lift the more fixed parts properly as they do not easily rise so high.

In this two quotes you can clearly see, the proper uses of this two instruments, the alembic should be used to distill volatile matters, or to separate various volatile substances with low heat. Then of course this depends on various factors, and the type of Prima Materia you using.

Then the retort should be used to extract what is left from the Terra Damnata, a retort is more efficient when you apply high degrees of heat, for ex. to extract oils since they don't need to raise so high, if they do they usually solidify.

I have discover many important things in my path, by consider this important instructions. In fact you should have more then one alembic or retort, and you should try various sizes, and various degrees of heat.
For ex. with an alembic i have successively distill matters using very low temperature, like our body heat, that i consider to be the secret fire of the philosophers, a fire that should be kept from the beginning to the end, for ex. if you consider the use of blood or urine.

About Neubert, i have one alembic from them, it already pass many bad treatments in my hands, even pass trough calcination at high temperatures, and it resit. I'm very happy with their quality. But i want a alembic with a large joint, enough so i can fit my hand into it, i have enough of suffer to wash my glassware because narrow joints.

Well i totally agree with you, finding a good glassware is not easy, i have few good experiments, others really bad, and i like to custom made everything, according to my needs and understanding of the alchemical path. I hope in future the 3D printing may solve my problems :)

Cheers

Andro
05-22-2013, 04:39 AM
I think asking to this more traditional glassblower if he can reshape a 1000 ml glass flask for me, in fact the only thing he need to do is reshape the joint, I think it may be possible.

For what it's worth, my best recommendation is also to have a (Master) Glass Blower re-shape lab grade Boro vessels into the needed, more 'classical' configuration(s).


our body heat, that I consider to be the secret fire of the philosophers

There are quite a few 'Fires' mentioned in Alchemical literature:

Common Fire (self-explanatory)
Natural Fire (possibly the Inner fire of Fermentation, like fermenting dung, not needing an external heat source)
Fire Against Nature (up to each to interpret what it is)
Secret Fire (possibly one of the previous two - or a different one)

thoth
05-22-2013, 11:10 PM
Hello Thoth,
Most artists distill the vinegar in an alembic through the head, and in that way only the subtlest Spinitus * volatilie goes over together with the Phlegma. Some now use this for all works, while it is yet so weak that it easily proves its weakness when it is tasted on the tongue. It tastes like Phlegna, except that it still has a slight taste which testifies that it had retained something of the vinegar. Should they drive more strongly, however, that is through the retort, they obtain a stronger vinegar but stinking of oil and of a burnt smell.

Then the retort should be used to extract what is left from the Terra Damnata, a retort is more efficient when you apply high degrees of heat, for ex. to extract oils since they don't need to raise so high, if they do they usually solidify.

For ex. with an alembic i have successively distill matters using very low temperature, like our body heat, that i consider to be the secret fire of the philosophers, a fire that should be kept from the beginning to the end, for ex. if you consider the use of blood or urine.

Cheers

Yes thats a good point. Its a bit like the way alcohol makers use a pot still for whiskey - flavours as many fusils & oils go over into reciever - similar to retort, while they use a reflux still for more neutral alcohols like vodka.

I know what you mean about the alembics and extracting the residues. I am playing about with idea of using a very tall canning jar as an alembic. I would turn it upside down and drill a holeclose to bottom, using glass drill bit. Then make a circular rim with a narrow glass tubing just wide enough to just fit inside jar- easy to shape on domestic gass hob. Attach the glass rim just below hole, through which spirit would flow out.

The tricky bit is finding a way to connect boiling flask to "alembic canning jar", with a tight fit, probably with a rubber or plastic gasket that could withstand heat.

Was also looking at using a goldfish bowl as alembic. Yea I know there are a few details to be worked out

JDP
08-28-2016, 07:59 PM
Gary Stadler of Scientific Glass also makes alembics based on older designs, if you're located in North America. I've made him make one that has much longer beak. Contact info: http://www.scientific-glass.com/contact.html



Yes, those were my sentiments also. 45/50 is better than the traditional 24/40.

If you are still around I've got a couple of questions about this: what are the measurements of the alembic head that the glass blowers from Scientific-Glass made for you, and how much did they charge you for it?

http://forum.alchemyforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=732&d=1368938330

You should also have put a ground glass joint on the tip of the side-arm of the alembic head, for easier connection to receiving flasks with ground glass joints.

Florius Frammel
08-29-2016, 03:21 PM
Is there any reason why you should measure the temperature inside the flask? To get comparable results it is needed to measure on the very top, which in your case would be inside the Alembic helmet.

This picture helped me a lot working with my apparatus, which is very similar to yours, JDP.

I had problems with the ethanol vaporizing into the air and that picture (unfortunately I don't know from whom it is originally from) helped me a lot.
http://www.alembic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/an-alembic.png

I found out that for this setup it's way better to cool the receiver instead of the helmet. When you cool the helmet you still have the risk in losing pretty much ethanol.
I don't cool the receiver like it is shown in the picture, instead I use a cooling mixture of salt and ice to cool down up to -40C. This is very easy to make and this way I found out, the old equipment is not as bad as some might think comparing to modern destilles with for example a Liebig-Cooler.

This way for example I can distill a 40% ethanol/water mixture to 75%.

Additional Info: I got my Alembic very very cheap comparing to your prices from here:

http://www.lederkram.de/category.php?cat_ID=539

They are in Germany but maybe they send to other countries too.

JDP
08-29-2016, 07:41 PM
Is there any reason why you should measure the temperature inside the flask? To get comparable results it is needed to measure on the very top, which in your case would be inside the Alembic helmet.

This picture helped me a lot working with my apparatus, which is very similar to yours, JDP.

I had problems with the ethanol vaporizing into the air and that picture (unfortunately I don't know from whom it is originally from) helped me a lot.
http://www.alembic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/an-alembic.png

I found out that for this setup it's way better to cool the receiver instead of the helmet. When you cool the helmet you still have the risk in losing pretty much ethanol.
I don't cool the receiver like it is shown in the picture, instead I use a cooling mixture of salt and ice to cool down up to -40C. This is very easy to make and this way I found out, the old equipment is not as bad as some might think comparing to modern destilles with for example a Liebig-Cooler.

This way for example I can distill a 40% ethanol/water mixture to 75%.

Additional Info: I got my Alembic very very cheap comparing to your prices from here:

http://www.lederkram.de/category.php?cat_ID=539

They are in Germany but maybe they send to other countries too.

The picture is of the alembic that Krisztian had built for him by the glass-blowers from Scientific-Glass. I was wondering how much did they charge him for the alembic head part (i.e. the piece that goes on top of the cucurbit and has a side-arm.) I would be interested in having one of these built with 45/50 ground glass joints: one to connect to the distilling flasks and the other to connect to the receiving flasks.

The only disadvantage of the alembics in the link you posted is that they do not have ground glass joints. In this day and age one can take full advantage of this development for an easier and faster fitting. With the more old fashioned alembics offered in the German site you have to "lute" both the alembic head to the cucurbit and the receiving flask to the side-arm.

For distilling things like alcohol you don't really need an alembic in this day and age. You can simply use the modern plain distilling flasks that chemists use:

http://www.sciencelabsupplies.com/images/magictoolbox_cache_from_database/db9dadd1d155a20c8ea21e6edbd940e4.jpg

Simple rubber stoppers will do, since they are not attacked by alcohol vapors. Ground glass joints are only necessary when you are distilling substances which vapors damage rubber, like acetic acid, nitric acid, butter of antimony, etc.

Andro
08-29-2016, 08:11 PM
I've had one of my Alembics (with ground glass joints) made by a local glassblower, by altering/modifying existing glassware.

The Final Setup:

http://i861.photobucket.com/albums/ab172/androgynus_album/Still%202_zpsci9thjos.jpg

The Glassblower at work:

http://i861.photobucket.com/albums/ab172/androgynus_album/Glassblower_zpsiyskpzpe.jpg

Florius Frammel
08-29-2016, 08:34 PM
You are right about the ground glass joints. Anyways I'm not missing them on my Alembic. I don't lute something and don't use rubber either. This thing is absolutely sufficient for basic operations in the plant realm. When working with dangerous material I use other devices.

Very nice pictures, Andro!

zoas23
08-29-2016, 09:59 PM
I've had one of my Alembics (with ground glass joints) made by a local glassblower, by altering/modifying existing glassware.

Yes, that's what I do all the time... all you need is to go to several suppliers of glassware and ask if they do such thing... and test them with something "small" until you find your beloved puffer (he must be good and cheap).

Beginning from zero is expensive, but modifying an existing piece isn't... quite often the solutions are very simple (like adding another "entry" to a flask... or changing a "female" entry for a "male" one, etc).

In my experience, quite often the price depends on your face and how you ask (the WORST thing you can do is to make believe the puffer that you work for a big industry of labs). Also, if you come up with interesting designs, it's likely that he'll like you and make it cheaper (I even had the luck of making a different design for a soxhlet and THEN the puffer asked me if I gave him my permission to sell my design at his shop under my nickname... which he currently does... the infamous "zoas item" for soxhlets*).

JDP
08-29-2016, 10:01 PM
I've had one of my Alembics (with ground glass joints) made by a local glassblower, by altering/modifying existing glassware.

The Final Setup:

http://i861.photobucket.com/albums/ab172/androgynus_album/Still%202_zpsci9thjos.jpg

The Glassblower at work:

http://i861.photobucket.com/albums/ab172/androgynus_album/Glassblower_zpsiyskpzpe.jpg

How much did he charge you for the piece? Also, what are the specifications (measurements and ground glass joints)?

JDP
08-29-2016, 10:03 PM
You are right about the ground glass joints. Anyways I'm not missing them on my Alembic. I don't lute something and don't use rubber either. This thing is absolutely sufficient for basic operations in the plant realm. When working with dangerous material I use other devices.

Very nice pictures, Andro!

If you do not use lutes, rubber or ground glass joints you are going to lose some of the material you are distilling.

Florius Frammel
08-30-2016, 06:49 AM
If you do not use lutes, rubber or ground glass joints you are going to lose some of the material you are distilling.

I know! As I tried to say before, with my setup and especially the use of a cooling mixture the loss is acceptable (for me). A yield of 100% is impossible with ANY chemical reaction. For example in your distilling devices there always will remain material in the flask, the Alembic, etc..Further, most chemical reactions are equilibrium reactions, where the educts never react to 100% products.
I would rather be concerned, when working with your sealed setup, that the whole apparatus may explode because of the volume expansion when a liquid becomes gaseous. Especially with self built parts I would be very careful.
The yield sure will be a bit more but I think it's pretty dangerous. And I think -looking at old pictures- the old didn't work with sealed apparatuses. If someone has real evidence that they indeed distilled with low pressure, using a fish bladder or something, I might be wrong and at least some of the alchemists sealed their equipment like you do.

JDP
08-30-2016, 02:21 PM
I know! As I tried to say before, with my setup and especially the use of a cooling mixture the loss is acceptable (for me). A yield of 100% is impossible with ANY chemical reaction. For example in your distilling devices there always will remain material in the flask, the Alembic, etc..Further, most chemical reactions are equilibrium reactions, where the educts never react to 100% products.
I would rather be concerned, when working with your sealed setup, that the whole apparatus may explode because of the volume expansion when a liquid becomes gaseous. Especially with self built parts I would be very careful.
The yield sure will be a bit more but I think it's pretty dangerous. And I think -looking at old pictures- the old didn't work with sealed apparatuses. If someone has real evidence that they indeed distilled with low pressure, using a fish bladder or something, I might be wrong and at least some of the alchemists sealed their equipment like you do.

The objective is to get as much as possible from your work. So sealing some parts of the distilling apparatus is very important in order not to have a good part of your work lost because of volatilization into the atmosphere.

Making a completely sealed distillation train is obviously dangerous, specially when distilling "unknown" things that you are not sure how the vapors/gases emitted are going to behave. Are they all going to condense or are some of them continue to expand and, eventually, burst the apparatus? You never know. In order to avoid this risk, you provide a thin "vent" to your receivers. The old alchemists who did not want to risk an explosion of their distilling apparatuses did this simply by putting a thin piece of hollow reed or straw right between the joining parts of the alembic's or retort's side-arm and the receiving flasks and then applying the sealing "lute" on the joints, being careful not to block the hollow reed/straw that stuck out of the joining parts. This provided an "escape" for any vapors/gases that would not condense. Today you can more easily just use a two neck receiving flask with ground glass joints:

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/content/dam/sigma-aldrich/product0/011/synf410250.tif/_jcr_content/renditions/synf410250-large.jpg

And provide the side-neck with a ground glass connector with a thin "vent" tube, like this:

http://www.glasscraftinc.com/shop/images/10204-05.jpg

The important thing to remember here is that you should provide the escape tube the furthest away possible from the cucurbit/retort/flask part of the apparatus, in order to give as much possible surface area for the vapors to condense before they find the "vent". That minimizes any loses through dissipation into the air.

Andro
08-30-2016, 04:07 PM
How much did he charge you for the piece? Also, what are the specifications (measurements and ground glass joints)?

Boiling flask: 2 Liters

Alembic (modified Erlenmeyer): 2 Liters

Receiver: 1 Liter

Boiling Flask to Alembic Head joint: 60/46 (60mm width... I wish it was double that... It would have likely almost doubled the price...)

Tube width when coming out of Alembic Head: 16mm

Tube width when entering Receiver: 12mm

Total price charged for the entire setup, parts and labor: almost 400 Euros

zoas23
08-30-2016, 04:59 PM
Boiling Flask to Alembic Head joint: 60/46 (60mm width... I wish it was double that... It would have likely almost doubled the price...)


Silly question: Why would you prefer a "neck" twice as big (something like 120/96)...???

Is it just because it would be easier to clean it? Or there's another reason that goes beyond "it's easier to clean it"?

Just asking because 60/46 is already HUGE for me (I often use 24/40 and 29/42).

Florius Frammel
08-30-2016, 06:38 PM
@JDP
That makes sense!
It would be interesting though to compare the yield of our setups. We could distill a certain amount of booze of a certain concentration. I don't want to compare the length of certain body parts if you know what I mean. I'm just curious. Are you interested?

Edit: And I am interested in your sources. Can you tell me where you found this information? Sorry if this is common knowledge here, but it is the first time I hear about such a method.

Andro
08-30-2016, 09:28 PM
Is it just because it would be easier to clean it? Or there's another reason that goes beyond "it's easier to clean it"?

A wider neck yields noticeably better results in certain experiments.

JDP
08-30-2016, 10:18 PM
@JDP
That makes sense!
It would be interesting though to compare the yield of our setups. We could distill a certain amount of booze of a certain concentration. I don't want to compare the length of certain body parts if you know what I mean. I'm just curious. Are you interested?

Edit: And I am interested in your sources. Can you tell me where you found this information? Sorry if this is common knowledge here, but it is the first time I hear about such a method.

I don't use alembics to distill alcohol, I use the plain distillation flasks that chemists use, like the one I posted before. With simple rubber stoppers and Graham or Liebig condensers attached to the side-arm they work very well for such a purpose.

If I remember correctly, I read about that technique of putting a tube between the joints of the receiver and side-arm to act as a vent in one of the works attributed to Ramon Llull, or maybe it was in the work of one of his followers (Parisinus, Guido, Ripley, etc.)

Isaac Hollandus in his "Mineral Work" describes another technique: start to distill without luting the receiver, then after the distillate has started collecting in the receiver, apply the lute to the joint between the receiver and the side-arm. This, however, is not as safe, as the vapors/gases from what is being distilled might not condense and will not find an exit. However, since the lute would still be "fresh", I suppose that before bursting the glass apparatus they would actually just "blow" the lute out.

Florius Frammel
08-31-2016, 07:45 AM
Thank you!