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Thread: Alcohol Purification

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Barrie, ON, Canada
    Posts
    98
    Damn that water azeotrope. Chemists loathe rectifying alcohol because of it lol. Oh I forgot to mention that molecular sieves (at least the cheap ones I got) are not as effective as the magnesium sulfate. Epson salts in its anhydrous form has much much better water absorption potential than 3A molecular sieves. I can't speak for the high end sieves though. And you can boil the Epson salts together with the alcohol in the flask without releasing water. Sieves cannot be used while distillation is going on as they will release the water they initially absorbed and all your work will be for naught (even if you use high end sieves!). So when you use sieves you have product loss because you have to transfer it through a funnel and filter. In this process some alcohol gets evaporated and water from the air gets attached to the alcohol almost instantly. In the end it is just not worth doing sieves, but this is just my humble opinion.
    Last edited by Wildfire; 01-27-2019 at 12:00 PM. Reason: forgot to add comment

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Barrie, ON, Canada
    Posts
    98

    Activated charcoal

    Hmmm. I don't know what to say about this one. I have some activated bamboo coal that I used in my initial rectifications and I can't say I saw a very positive result. But there different kinds of activated charcoal and you can have different sizes too. Whatever the case you have product loss as well as there is filtering involved. So for this reason I decided to go the distillation way only. Anybody has had any significant results using activated coal? Please let me know. Thanks.
    May your labs remain redundant.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    20
    I am not sure what additives you have in the alcohol so not sure what you can remove by distillation. In my experience with wine, if you have the time then repeated distillations should make the alcohol taste sweet/candy cane like. I didn't think it tasted good untill 7 distillations/rectifications and it was sweet at 12 distillations. Sweetness can be a sign that the alcohol is purified at least if you are using wine. I also make sugar washes and the fermentation stage takes about 5-8 days if the temperature is correct.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Barrie, ON, Canada
    Posts
    98
    Yeah you're right. I had to do multiple distillations and the first few using Mg2SO4 as a drying agent to remove the water azeotrope. The alcohol was tasting sweet afterwards. Mine was store bought ethanol for fireplace lighting.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Barrie, ON, Canada
    Posts
    98

    Conclusions

    Having tried different types of store bought alcohol for purification, I can safely say that rubbing alcohol is the cheapest and cleanest with the highest yield. Of course potable alcohol is cleaner hands down any time, but concentration wise rubbing alcohol is the winner in my chart. Oh and something else... I found that even if you have a fractional column for distillation it is still a great idea to pack some lose steel wool somewhere in the column to aid in separation of the liquids. Just make sure that it is LOOSELY packed in the column. You should be able to see daylight through it after packing it in there. If it is too tight you may get pooling on the wool. Hope it helps.

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