Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Distillation methods and improvements.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Bobbywolf » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:58 am

Michaels craft store. They have lots of locations, hopefully one by you. They are sold as decrative beads and are round, clear and 7/16 in diameter. 1kg tubes.
Bobbywolf
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:33 pm
Location: Eastern Canada

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Desvio » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:57 am

Depending on where you are (US or Canada?) and if you have Amazon Prime, these were a pretty good deal for quantity and price.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MV9KCJW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Ordered two packages of them, and they are working pretty good for thier size.
People say that I'm a bad influence. I say the world's already f#cked -- I'm just adding to it.
User avatar
Desvio
Bootlegger
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:35 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby still_stirrin » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:47 pm

Here's where I got mine: http://www.hobbylobby.com/Floral-Weddin ... les/p/3504

And at $3USD for 2 lb., the price is very reasonable. Grab a couple of bags for when they crack, which they will...they're glass.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5126
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Klein » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:50 pm

still_stirrin wrote:Here's where I got mine: http://www.hobbylobby.com/Floral-Weddin ... les/p/3504

And at $3USD for 2 lb., the price is very reasonable. Grab a couple of bags for when they crack, which they will...they're glass.
ss


Has anyone compared different size marbles? With the size difference compared to the 7/16" (11.1mm) bobbywolf uses.

I'd love to hear if guys think it would make much of a difference.
Klein
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:03 am
Location: Canada

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Bobbywolf » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:13 am

Just make sure you wash them well in a bucket of hot soapy water. Mine had an oily sheen initially.
Bobbywolf
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:33 pm
Location: Eastern Canada

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby greggn » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:21 am

> Just make sure you wash them well in a bucket of hot soapy water.


I soaked mine in a pot of heads followed by a boil in clean water. They came out squeaky clean.
________________

I drank fifty pounds of feed-store corn
'till my clothes were ratty and torn
greggn
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:59 am

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby casper the Irish » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:53 pm

If bluefish is getting better result from scrubbies (given he needs to do the straight comparison Rad asks) could a factor be the dispersal patterns. Scrubbies spatter liquid randomly, regular marbles are patterned. Perhaps those unsorted marbles of various dia will improve the diffusion of distillate in vapour
casper the Irish
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 245
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: Ireland

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:38 am

@RAD14701 How many 7/16" marbles will it take to fill a 4" x 24" column?

if you could how many 3/8" ones as well i may want to go smaller? just considering

trying to place an order for a few to play with :shock: :mrgreen:


i calculated 2408 1/2" marbles to fit in same size column but am not sure if my numbers are close even.... i said to myself "I bet Rad would know just from memory!" :roll:

happy stillin,

FS
Do it Safely read The safety section: viewforum.php?f=33
New Distillers Reading: viewforum.php?f=46
Hookline's Basic Still Designs: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=18873
FullySilenced
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:40 am

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby 700G » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:50 pm

FullySilenced wrote:@RAD14701 How many 7/16" marbles will it take to fill a 4" x 24" column?

if you could how many 3/8" ones as well i may want to go smaller? just considering

trying to place an order for a few to play with :shock: :mrgreen:


i calculated 2408 1/2" marbles to fit in same size column but am not sure if my numbers are close even.... i said to myself "I bet Rad would know just from memory!" :roll:

happy stillin,

FS



Here's how my 5/8" marbles worked out in a 4" column:

5" of marbles in a 4" column = 3.25lbs. 308 marbles
stillin' when I shoulda been buyin'
User avatar
700G
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:52 pm

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:08 am

@700G Thank you

BTW The equation for this was developed over 400 years ago. It is a favorite classic physics advanced geometry problem.

It took 400 years to verify and prove the theory.

Was bugging the **** out of me for the last couple days, but have gotten it down to hand grenade and horse shoes close.

Happy Stillin

FS
Do it Safely read The safety section: viewforum.php?f=33
New Distillers Reading: viewforum.php?f=46
Hookline's Basic Still Designs: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=18873
FullySilenced
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:40 am

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby rad14701 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:33 am

FullySilenced wrote:@RAD14701 How many 7/16" marbles will it take to fill a 4" x 24" column?

if you could how many 3/8" ones as well i may want to go smaller? just considering

trying to place an order for a few to play with :shock: :mrgreen:


i calculated 2408 1/2" marbles to fit in same size column but am not sure if my numbers are close even.... i said to myself "I bet Rad would know just from memory!" :roll:

happy stillin,

FS

I'm using 5/8" marbles and "should" have a formula for various size requirements and it seemed fairly accurate... I'll have to hunt around because I'm not sure if the spreadsheet file is on a local machine or on my server... That's one calculation I can't pull off from memory... :shifty:

Edited to add: I've only been able to find a formula from early on in my research and with a little tweaking was able to come up with a range off 4477 - 5000 7/16" marbles to fill a 4" x 24" column section... But that number sounds high to me so I'll try to refine the formula... Even the scientific math wizards seem to have a tough time with this one due to some of the variables involved...
User avatar
rad14701
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 20873
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby thecroweater » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:06 pm

If you take the assumption that the marbles are the same, shaken down the voids should be the same. If the marble size the height and the diameter are known it should not be very difficult to calculate. Even if they do not precisely stack each layer will deviate by the same percentage, worse case scenario there will be a formula for that maximum that will fit
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin
User avatar
thecroweater
Site Mod
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:04 am
Location: Central Highlands Vic. Australia

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby rad14701 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:34 pm

FullySilenced wrote:@RAD14701 How many 7/16" marbles will it take to fill a 4" x 24" column?

if you could how many 3/8" ones as well i may want to go smaller? just considering

trying to place an order for a few to play with :shock: :mrgreen:


i calculated 2408 1/2" marbles to fit in same size column but am not sure if my numbers are close even.... i said to myself "I bet Rad would know just from memory!" :roll:

happy stillin,

FS

My calculation, derived by using online calculators and a simple calculator, came out to ~2575 for 1/2" marbles in a 4" x 24" column... However, that number might be high given the fact that I used the 4" OD as the ID in one calculator... With an actual ID that number would most likely drop...

That same method of calculating resulted in ~3465 7/16" marbles in that same column...

One thing to note here is that these numbers are not optimized by taking into account the fact that there is a percentage of nesting between layers and potentially different numbers of marbles per layer due to said nesting... Worst case scenario is that more marbles may be required to completely fill to 24"... It might be practical to buy a few more than you think you need - and a slingshot...
User avatar
rad14701
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 20873
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby T-Pee » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:38 pm

rad14701 wrote:It might be practical to buy a few more than you think you need - and a slingshot...

K.I.S.S.

tp
User avatar
T-Pee
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 4326
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:20 pm
Location: The wilds of rural California

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Fills Jars Slowly » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:29 am

This is a run report comparing marbles to stainless scrubbers for one particular still design and one particular set of initial conditions.

I decided to build a Condenser Controlled Vapor Management (CCVM) still similar to many designs seen on this site. It consists of a 2” copper pipe for the column with a 2” takeoff tee above it, a Dimroth style reflux condenser made from corrugated stainless steel tubing above that and a 2 foot long Liebig as a product condenser. The column is about 40 inches long up to where it meets the bottom of the tee and is meant to hold 36” of packing. Here it is in action dripping product into a proofing parrot’s beak:

ccvm_still.jpg


For my initial cleaning runs, I made up a still charge of 1 liter of 95% abv Everclear and 8.5 liters of water for a total of 9.5 liters at 10% abv. For the first run with alcohol after the water and vinegar runs, I packed 3 feet of the column with stainless steel scrubbing pads, and for the second run (same still charge with the first run distillate dumped back in the boiler) I took out all but the bottom couple of inches of scrubbers and replaced them with 14mm diameter marbles.

scrubbers_and_marbles.jpg


The first run with scrubbers produced 95.6% abv when the hydrometer reading is temperature corrected:

Hydro_scrubbies.jpg


The second run with marbles made the same thing:

hydro_marbles.jpg


Due to the angle of the photos and such, it may be hard to tell, but the readings between the two runs are just about exactly the same, though I was running the marbles just a bit faster, maybe a liter per 30 minutes rather than a liter per 40 minutes. I could probably have run both even faster and stayed close to azeotrope, but it was my first time running this still so I didn’t push it. This is what the output looked like:

output_flow.jpg


The main differences between the scrubbers and the marbles are:
  • The scrubbers are a pain to get in and out of the column. I resorted to a fish hook taped to the end of a mop handle to remove them. They also tangle up with one another and I cut my finger pulling them apart.
  • Marbles are easy to get in and out of the column. I scooped them in with a plastic cup and poured them out into a bucket when I was done.
  • The marbles make a slight clattering noise near the top of the column when running, the scrubbers are silent.
  • If you buy the scrubbers at retail (Home Depot or grocery store) they are more expensive at about $2.50 for a three pack, with 24 total scrubbers needed. The marbles are $3 for 2 pounds at Hobby Lobby. It took about 5.5 pounds to fill my column. So it takes about $9 worth of marbles and about $20 worth of scrubbers. However, I see that an online restaurant supply advertises stainless scrubbers for $4.39 a 12 pack, so shipping aside, that is competitive with marbles.
  • The marbles will last basically forever (a few break here and there), while the scrubbies degrade with use.
  • The marbles are super easy to clean, while the scrubbies are not.

Since this was a cleaning run, I don't have any comment on any difference between the taste qualities between the two runs. Here are the marbles I poured out of the column:

marbles_in_bucket.jpg


Conclusion? In a 2” diameter CCVM with a 3 foot packed section, both marbles and scrubbers produce azeotrope from a 10% abv still charge. For me, a couple of scrubbers in the bottom to retain the packing and the remainder as marbles is the perfect balance of ease and effectiveness. Note that my experiment does not prove that marbles have a HETP equivalent to the scrubbers, just that 3 feet of packed 2” column is a enough for both materials to produce azeo. Further experimentation reducing the height of the packing could well show that the scrubbers have a lower HETP, as theory indicates.

I also have lava rock, but have not experimented with that yet. Marbles are so clean and easy that I might choose them over other packings unless I really needed the smallest HETP or I am running a large enough column that the weight becomes a problem. I have used them in my 4” flute column instead of plates and over plates and it gets pretty heavy but not undo-able. That setup doesn’t achieve azeotrope at the takeoff rate I usually run, but it does make pretty decent neutral at a high output rate.
User avatar
Fills Jars Slowly
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:07 am

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby still_stirrin » Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:32 am

Fill Jars Slowly,

I'm a "believer".

And...a "user".

Great assessment and summary. Thx.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5126
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby KingE » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:50 pm

FYI I figured hobby lobby 2 pound bags would be 3 bags per foot for my 3" column. It's a bit better than that. 14" per 3 bags.
KingE
Novice
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:09 pm
Location: Washington

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby masonsjax » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:59 pm

I bought 5 bags for my 3" x 30" column and had maybe a half pound left over.
User avatar
masonsjax
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:26 pm
Location: Appalachia

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby pounsfos » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:10 pm

So for people wanting to know.

We have basically concluded that
1. the HETP of marbles isn't as bad as we thought it was.
2. it could be on par with Pot scrubbers but with advantages such as
a: easier to pack/unpack
b: easier to clean
3. My theory (yet to be proved but a thought for everyone) is that there will be a "perfect size range" marble for different still sizes
IE: to small and it will flood easily, to big and might not get the same HETP value,

More data is required, if we can roughly prove that marbles have a slightly better HETP value, then repacking them over Scrubbers could mean you might get a free plate or 2 extra, and thats always nice.

If people could put in there posts what size marbles they have purchased, and maybe some more experiences with them, we could be onto a winner.

Keep trucking people, you guys are doing well.

and as always, thanks Rad for curious mind. :clap: :clap:

Edit:Heres a table for conversion for you metric people (myself included)
http://infinityline.net/conversion.htm
User avatar
pounsfos
Distiller
 
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:46 am
Location: lost in the bush with the rest of the kiwis

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby The Baker » Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:22 pm

Thanks, I will be interested to see how this works.

Maybe two people with the same 'model' still could distil the same product in the same way, one using marbles and the other using Pot scrubbers...
A great project for two who work together....
Geoff
The Baker
The Baker
Distiller
 
Posts: 1232
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:48 am
Location: Australia

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby joeymac » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:44 am

I don't really think there's anything to "prove" about scrubbers vs marbles...

I had copper scrubbers in a 36" x 2" column and it produced about 1 L/hr of 94%
I switched to marbles in the same setup and I was able to hold 96% at a rate of 2.5+ L/hr
Marbles had better purity, over twice the production rate, and handled way more power. Still clean tasting too.
"Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks" - God (Isaiah 5:22)
So evidently, God wants us to drink our whiskeys single barrel and our Bourbons neat.
joeymac
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:22 pm

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby The Baker » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:24 am

Thanks, joeymac, that's exactly what I wanted to know.

Ordinary sized marbles? Or maybe a bit smaller?

Geoff
The Baker
The Baker
Distiller
 
Posts: 1232
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:48 am
Location: Australia

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby T-Pee » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:42 am

joeymac wrote:Marbles had better purity, over twice the production rate, and handled way more power. Still clean tasting too.

The marbles or the distillate? :wtf:

tp
User avatar
T-Pee
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 4326
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:20 pm
Location: The wilds of rural California

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Klein » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:39 am

It was months ago since I have read this thread so I don't remember if it has already been stated.

Just incase anyone wanted to know how much to get.
The 2lb bag of marbles from hobby lobby will fill 19" of 2" copper pipe. :)
Klein
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:03 am
Location: Canada

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby pounsfos » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:31 pm

what size marbles you using klein?

so others can share your results
User avatar
pounsfos
Distiller
 
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:46 am
Location: lost in the bush with the rest of the kiwis

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby joeymac » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:55 pm

my marbles are from michaels or hobby lobby and 5/8"
"Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks" - God (Isaiah 5:22)
So evidently, God wants us to drink our whiskeys single barrel and our Bourbons neat.
joeymac
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:22 pm

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby Klein » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:26 pm

pounsfos wrote:what size marbles you using klein?

so others can share your results


They are the hobby lobby 14mm
Klein
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:03 am
Location: Canada

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby pounsfos » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:28 pm

soo

5/8' is 16mm according to my chart in a previous post. (thanks for the input joeymac!!), rad is using this size aswell, although I believe he started with bigger marble and working his way down.

and klein is using 14mm

I would say this is a good agreed size for a 2' column, and naturally scale the marbles up as column diameter increases (to be properly tested)

from Joeymacs earlier post
I had copper scrubbers in a 36" x 2" column and it produced about 1 L/hr of 94%
I switched to marbles in the same setup and I was able to hold 96% at a rate of 2.5+ L/hr[/color]


from lester on page 2
I was very pleased to be able to take product out at 1:1 RR and the head temperature would still hold steady. This is a big improvement from the 2:1 RR I needed with the scrubbies.
Output rate at middle of the run = 3.5 LPH of 95.6% ABV

Column Type: VM
Column Diameter: 2"
Column packed height = 45"
Packing: Round glass marbles 11.2mm in diameter


so without going to far into testing, it is safe to say, they work better than scrubbers, but It would be fantastic if we could work out the HETP, I think the parent site needs a good upgrade and I believe thats in progress, so beeing able to find out the HETP of all this new and revised packing that is around would be awesome, as a few people have said, you might not be able to get a certain packing in your country, but at least you can have a quick look on the parent site, or these posts, and see what the HETP value of said packing is.

anyway, back on topic, so marble definitely seem to hold their own against scrubbers, I may have to grab some and join in with all the fun you're having collecting data.
User avatar
pounsfos
Distiller
 
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:46 am
Location: lost in the bush with the rest of the kiwis

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby joeymac » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:19 pm

It's more complicated than marbles having a set hetp. Marbles work best when you really throw a lot of power at them and get the top and bottom of the column to flood. If you're not going to drive them hard they won't work as efficiently. Essentially, the hetp changes with more power and column foooding state... so there is no set number. Search here about marbles and the aquatic environment in the column regarding the different zones.
"Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks" - God (Isaiah 5:22)
So evidently, God wants us to drink our whiskeys single barrel and our Bourbons neat.
joeymac
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 296
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:22 pm

Re: Glass Marbles for Reflux Column Structured Packing

Postby thecroweater » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:07 pm

once you have flooding or even channeling you no longer have reflux, that not just with marbles that's anything full stop
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. Benjamin Franklin
User avatar
thecroweater
Site Mod
 
Posts: 4577
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:04 am
Location: Central Highlands Vic. Australia

PreviousNext

Return to Research and Theory



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests