Author Topic: 50 gal. Reaction/ Distillation Vessel Construction  (Read 7395 times)

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  • Guest
goiterjoe: i suspect with the proper equipment ...
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2002, 12:23:00 AM »
goiterjoe: i suspect with the proper equipment steam could be used to heat the contents far above 100, as we know liquid water at ambient pressure will only be 100c, but steam can get far hotter.

As per the usage; its actual intended use is as an alien pod incubation chamber, but im sure it could be used for any type of chemical reaction, and given all its purposed features could also handle subsequent product extraction, seperation and distillation.


  • Guest
don't pod babies like it around absolue zero?
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2002, 12:38:00 AM »
I was just wondering if you had considered using disposable reaction containers.  For example, you could run a Al/Hg reductive amination in an aluminum trash can stacked inside a plastic trashcan.  That's if you're looking to reductively aminate something.  Or, if you were thinking about running a huge volume oxone reaction, maybe using that same plastic trashcan.  Then you could just purchase a 5 liter distillation setup for your distillations.  That's if you're planning on making a pod baby that requires reactions along those lines.

I remember this one time I tried to make a pod baby.  I was drinking late one night when I noticed these strange lights coming from behind the barn.  I went out to see what it was, and saw this huge spaceship.  Beside it was the green alien girl stirring this huge kettle with an oar.  After getting over my initial shock, I asked her what she was doing.  she told me that she was making a baby.  In my drunken stupor, I told her that she was on earth and that's not how babies are made.  She looked at me with a confused expression on her face, and then asked if I could show her how babies are made on Earth.  I proceeded to take her inside the spaceship and fuck her brains out.  After about 25 minutes, I rolled over and told her I couldn't go again for another hour.

She looked at me funny, and said "So where's the baby?"

I said "Oh, that takes 9 months."

"So, why'd you stop stirring?"


  • Guest
Having this built...
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2002, 11:23:00 PM »
Who does this kind of custom metal fabrication and how does one approach them? On construction what type of welding should be used?


  • Guest
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2002, 02:09:00 AM »
How would one approach a custom fabricator?  I don't have any need for something like a 50 gal. reactor/distiller, but I could use a solid steel block with about 100 holes in it, with two other blocks with steel pegs fitting into the holes in the first block perfectly.  I could even use some custon raised engraving on the ends of one set of pegs.  But this would be a little obvious to some people, so how would SWIM approach a metal fabricator about such a job?

And as for the 50 gal bohemouth, I don't really think that you would need anything like that unless you were doing something like a 25-50 leukart.  Other than that, I can't think of any reaction that you could do that couldn't be done in a disposable container.  Large scale oxone runs, as well as performic runs, could be done in a 5 gal PP drum.  You can buy them used, and throw them away when you're done, or you can start a collection of them.  The cyano, boro, and Al/Hg can be done in them with no prob.  If it's the Al/Hg, then when you extract, you can use toluene, pour the toluene off the top, and just leave the nasty Hg waste in the drum.  Clean, easy, and you can store these away 'till you got about 10-15, then throw 'em in the back of a pickup(covered up of course), and leave 'em at the nearest hazardous chemical disposal in the middle of the night.  Maybe even a little note about the evils of the drug war.  And as for distilling, I would just get a 5L distilling setup.  If you have to reload it a couple of times, booooohooooooo!  Have a little patience! 8)

Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light.  --Dylan Thomas


  • Guest
Who does this kind of custom metal fabrication ...
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2002, 02:21:00 AM »
Who does this kind of custom metal fabrication and how does one approach them? On construction what type of welding should be used? :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P  :P


  • Guest
what's PP
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2002, 03:54:00 AM »
> 5 gal PP drum

what is a PP drum?  a portable urinal or something  ;) ?

i learned a thing or two from charlie dontcha know.


  • Guest
PolyPropylene which is a common plasic used for ...
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2002, 05:24:00 AM »
PolyPropylene which is a common plasic used for all sorts of things. it has resonable chem resistance. you'll also see PE polyethylene used alot.


  • Guest
Construction of the condenser
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2002, 02:27:00 AM »

On construction of the stainless steel condenser and fractionating column.

Construction of the condenser and column would be pretty easy. Two lengths of piping are selected, one longer than the other to allow for a drip lip. And two disks of SS larger than the diameter of the wider pipe are cut with appropriate access and bolt holes. The parts are put together as shown.

The basic construction of Condenser and Column are essentially the same. After the main parts are assembled and welded together holes are drilled into the outer pipe and a small length of copper pipe is welded into place over the hole. Two holes for the condenser for water to be circulated, and one for the column where a vacuum pump can be attached and the interior shell chamber can be vacuumated and the access pipe can be crimped and sealed.

Input is needed here, for gasket material I drew in a hand cut sheet of Teflon that would fit between the lid of the vessel and the connecting plate of the condenser (or column). What would have to be done to make these connecting joints as vacuum tight as possible? I think: a gasket of appropriate material (any suggestions?) that is greased with high quality Apiezon Vacuum grease or something similar, along with heavy gauge bolts that would be tightened with considerable force would be enough?


  • Guest
some random thoughts
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2002, 03:10:00 AM »
For your fractionating column, how about making it using two pieces of pipe, one that fits snugly inside the other, and about 10 washers that fit snugly inside the larger diameter pipe?  you can take the small pipe and cut it into 2.5" lengths, and then stack them in the larger pipe, alternating pipe, washer, pipe, washer, etc.  To make the washers drip properly, you canpress them into a convex shape before you slide them in.  Once you have a column of your desired length, weld the inside pipes firmly in place. 

As far as the gasket goes, teflon isn't going to give you the amount of compression you are going to need.  I would say buy a sheet of 5/16" rubber gasket material and cut out several O-rings.  Replace them periodically.  Also, make sure to tighten your bolts down in a criss-cross pattern, or else you will never get a good seal. 

Ideally, to get the best seal, one that will seal tighter when you apply vacuum, would be to use a countersunk design like so:

|    |
|    |
\    /
.\  /

to flask:
|      |
|\    /|
| \  / |_____


  • Guest
HVAC/refrigeration stores have gasket material ...
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2002, 03:16:00 AM »
HVAC/refrigeration stores have gasket material and different size gaskets.
The hardest thing to explain is the obvious


  • Guest
goiterjoe: If there is a vacuum jacket around the ...
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2002, 03:28:00 AM »
goiterjoe: If there is a vacuum jacket around the column it will be a lot more effiecient. It would probably be best to weld a peice of heavy gauge SS screen over the bottom hole so that you could fill the column up with whatever packing material is best. Which brings me to my next question, what packing material would be best for somthing this size?

As for your compression gasket i think it might be to difficult to machine that type of shape into somthing that is being made from skratch, i agree teflon probably isnt the way to go. If a greased rubber gasket was used, same size and shape as the one drawn in, perhaps if the inner hole of the gasket was smaller that the access hole in the lid then it would be forced down into the vessle when the drip tip was pushed into place - fitting snuggly between the drip tip and the side walls of the access hole. And of course the bolts are still to be tighted as much as possible.


  • Guest
ceramic chips
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2002, 10:00:00 AM »
Taking an undyed ceramic coffee mug and breaking it into small pieces should work well for packing your column.


  • Guest
I would think
« Reply #32 on: June 02, 2002, 11:40:00 PM »
that metal of any sort would not be the best material to make a fractionating column out of.  Metals have too low of specific heats, there would be too much lost heat.  I would consider a ceramic one, or some kind of high-temp plastic.  But ceramics do have unusally high specific heats.

Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light.  --Dylan Thomas


  • Guest
buy REAL packing
« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2002, 01:26:00 AM »
you can order rachig rings online

Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety


  • Guest
On Column Construction
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2002, 06:09:00 AM »
Regarding the fractionating column, can someone suggest the best implementation of a ceramic column while still holding to the design requirements?

As shown for the column, two stainless steel pipes are fitted together and welded between two connecting plates and the area around the inner pipe is to be vacuumated for optimum insulation.

The vacuumated shell is desirable and, since the construction of the column will be solely of stainless steal, easy to implement also.

I agree ceramic would be the best material but if the construction of the column will be totally of stainless steal, im not sure if it would be best to integrate a ceramic pipe into it.

Construction wise there would still have to be two pipes - each welded to two connecting plates to facilitate vacuum tight connecting. I think the obvious route would be to have an inner SS pipe with a diameter selected to allow for the fitting of a ceramic column insert.

My main concern for the ceramic column is in the construction. There would be no practical way to make a seal around the ceramic column to seal the main vessel from the area between the outer wall of the ceramic pipe and the inner walls of the inner steel shaft. The natural flow of vapor would be from the hot vessel to mainly the condenser, but also to the walls of the inner steel pipe reducing efficiency. This might not pose much mechanical problem for the distillation and I do counter this argument completely further down.

Input is REALLY needed here. It may be that metal is an acceptable material. Im considering that the inner tube could be of particularly thin metal since the shell around the inner pipe is to be highly vacuumated, the force exerted on the inner pipe would be stabilizing - pulling out in all directions, and not inward (opposite crushing a can by vacuumating it idea). The vacuum in the shell would be perfect, and any vacuum obtained in the main still would likely be less - again that thin metal can be used.

Since it will have a vacuumated jacket I dont suppose the small amount of conducted heat loss between the wall of the inner pipe and the connecting plates would be degrade the efficiency of the fractionating column. It may very well be that the dynamics of a large still like this cant be compared to this, but I would argue against a regular vacuum jacketed glass column. Additionally if this is the case even partially, would there be a considerable enough gain in efficiency to warrant a ceramic column at all?


  • Guest
« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2002, 08:08:00 PM »
raching rings AKA raschig rings are the way to go, they are used for home distillation of alcohol and can be gotten at places selling supplies for the such:


  • Guest
I guess you could have a ceramic shop make a ...
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2002, 12:08:00 AM »
I guess you could have a ceramic shop make a ceramic pipe with a little flang at the bottom and top, leaving enough room from the outside of the pipe to the screw holes to fit a SS pipe with a smaller flang over it to fit on the same screw holes.  You could use a teflon gasket for the flang, and rubber washers around the screws.  Just don't get too excited when you're screwin' it down. :P   Then you could pull the vacuum from the SS pipe, and you're off.  Make sure the ceramic pipe is flanged on both ends, of course, so you can attach the condensor.

I don't guess you'd absolutely HAVE to make it ceramic, but if you want to go all out, that's the best way I can think of.

Do not go gentle into that good night.  Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light.  --Dylan Thomas


  • Guest
« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2002, 06:11:00 PM »

     Hmmmm this is all sounding a bit familiar.  Wasn't it KRZ who was experimenting with Kegs a few years back?  Seems like a keg would be a good starting point for your vessel, they're designed to hold a good bit more pressure than a drum.  Now as to approaching someone to custom construct something like this my suggestion would be to find a chap building custom motorcycles.  There are a couple of cats in Ceps town and they are very talented.  They're also used to working with SS, building exhaust etc.  Watch one of these bradda beat a gas tank out of two sheet of steal on a shot bag and you'll have a healthy appreciation for the art.  If you find a talented bike builder they'll be able to build just about anything you design.  Not to mention they're likely not to ask as many "questions".
     Bwiti ceramic on ss doesn't sound doable.  Wonder how epoxy would work.  There are a few epoxy prods used for lining fuel tanks.  Very easy to use, and have excellent chemical resistance.  Not sure how they'd hold up to heat but something to consider.  Cheaper and easier than blowing glass.

"No I'll tell you what insanity is, insanity is majority rules"


  • Guest
kegs, probably not
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2002, 01:37:00 AM »
Kegs are only designed to hold pressure on the inside pushing out.  They would crumple just as fast as a drum if vacuum is applied to the outside of them forcing in.


  • Guest
bicepules: Thanks for the post.
« Reply #39 on: June 06, 2002, 01:46:00 AM »
bicepules: Thanks for the post. The best suggestion that has been made to be thus far is to look in a big city phone book for the boiler makers union and contact a few member shops. This union is  a large group of master metal workers who's work base is generally all custom, they work with many different materials and union shops are typically the best equipped.

It would be easy to approach a place like this with an explanation of the vessel as a cooling tank of some sort, an alcohol still - or anything creative.

Your epoxy idea sounds doable, obviously if its used in gas tanks it has excellent solvent resistance - something to look into.

I have been considering the ceramic idea more. If a ceramic pipe could be easily gotten it might be something that could be implemented correctly.

If the column section was designed so that the ceramic pipe was removable from the top (for cleaning), and sat on a ledge created by the hole of the lower access plate that had a smaller diameter than the inner SS pipe, you could use some simple gaskets to seal the inner SS pipe walls from the system. The gaskets would not have to be air tight as the whole inner system would be vacuumated, but just in place to keep the vapor flow on the inside of the ceramic pipe. However I still question if anything is even needed.