Originally By Tony Ackland
Calculate the HETP for your still ...For a full description, see Reflux ratio
See http://www.raschig-rings.com for more information on other column packing details. Note also that when real plates are used in a column, you also need to do a similar calculation - they are often far from ideal in operation, and you may need several to achieve one HETP.
Jan Willem experimented with this ...
At my latest distilling escapade I turned the reflux ratio up. Just as a test that would show me how pure it could get AND if there was a taste diffirence (after dilluting ofcourse) Collected the good stuff at 100mL/hour (a long wait) Then the score was initialy 95.?% and was going down a bit to 94.5% (Dunno if it was 94.3 or 94.8 so I say 94.5%) After the taste test I noticed NO difference, but I'm no expert at wodka tasting.
The improvement isn't linear either - you can halve the HETP for Stainless Steel Wool (SS below) by going from "bugger-all" reflux to "some" reflux, but there is little improvement winding it up too far past there.
SS = Stainless Steel Wool Scrubbers, RR6 = 6mm Ceramic Raschig Rings,
RR13 = 13mm Ceramic Raschig Rings, M = 10mm Marbles