Automatic column flooding sensor and power cutoff

Distillation methods and improvements.

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FuelMaker
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Automatic column flooding sensor and power cutoff

Post by FuelMaker » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:57 am

I picked this up for only $9.16 on cyber monday from Amazon, it can be configured as normally open or normally closed. I'm thinking of mounting it so the float is an inch or so above the top of my packing to detect and counter column flooding.

The thought is that when the float rises it'll trigger a (loud!) audible and visual alarm as well as opening a normally closed time delay relay that'll kill power to the pump that's feeding the steam generator (copper flash coil in an oil pot) from the reservoir.

Using a flash coil gives me instant on and instant off and I think this would be a good way to take advantage of it.

The specific gravity of the float is .70 and pure ethanol is .78 so it should float well enough - just a little late to trigger. Certainly better than just having distillate start pouring out the top of the column.

Also, I dont have much confidence in my ability to hear when the column is flooding - too many years near turbine engines and a real bad case of tinnitus in both ears.

If at all, how far do you think I should have it above the packing?
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DFitz
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Re: Automatic column flooding sensor and power cutoff

Post by DFitz » Wed Nov 30, 2016 4:51 pm

.70 at what temperature?

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FuelMaker
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Re: Automatic column flooding sensor and power cutoff

Post by FuelMaker » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:14 pm

DFitz wrote:.70 at what temperature?
Considering the float is a sealed stainless vessel, its at any temperature up to failure. Thermal expansion of the stainless would be minimal and it's good up to 200 PSI.

The real question should be what's the specific gravity of ethanol at it's boiling point - which is about .75

Hadn't thought of that until your question though. So it'll float, barely.
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