Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

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Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:23 am

Hi guys, Ive been racking my brain, reading and sketching to try and figure out which plate to use under my 4" packed section. Im hoping someone can give me some feedback on the topic. Something like Larrys inline thumper would be cool, but I dont have the materials for it atm (that's why Ive got the tall bubble cap option in the picture below).

Bit of background; Im finishing up the first stage of my 4" column build which will result in a 4" x 60" boka packed with marbles. At this stage in my build, the still will be used to produce high quality EtoH, as fast as possible (I have 4400w @ 240v available and would love to use as much of that as possible). Right now I only have enough copper for one plate (maybe two if can find some more scrap). TBH, I don't even know if there is any benefit in having a plate on a packed column. I'm guessing that a plate (as opposed to packing the same Tee section) will enable me to run with more power and stability. I will be building a bunch of plates later on, so this first one is just to get me started and experimenting if nothing else. In saying that, I'd rather not learn the hard way if i can avoid it. Despite my research I cant really come to a solid conclusion.

Here are the three loose concepts I am playing with:

bubble plates 3 options axo.jpg


The tube dimensions in the sketches are:

1) Six Cap:
6x 3/4" cap
1/2" riser
3/4" downcomer (flared to 1", 5/8 high)

2) Single Cap - short:
1x 3" cap
2.5" riser
1" downcomer (5/8" high)

3) Single Cap - tall:
1x 3" cap
2.5" riser
1" downcomer (4" high)

So rather than brain fart all over this post, I thought I would save my ramblings on the pros and cons of each option and leave it for the experienced people to simply talk sense :lol:
Im happy to explain my thoughts regarding all three if anyone is interested.

CS
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby pfshine » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:36 am

I would go with the tall as a small inline thumper, but I would change the cap sizing. As it is right now the space between the riser and cap is too small. You want the area between them to be roughly the same open area of the riser. Also with that size cap there will be very little volume left in the 4". After work I will post up some sizes with areas.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby bluefish_dist » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:04 pm

I run a 6" plate under my 4" packed column at 5500w. I found that normal bubble caps start to flood at about 4000w on a 4". Sieve plates will easily take 6000w. With that in mind I would either upsize the bubble plate or run a sieve plate.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby pfshine » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:00 pm

Here is a handy table to help with OD and ID sizing. Take the area from the ID of the cap subtract the area of the OD of the riser. This should be roughly the same as the area of the ID of the riser.

Finding area: D×D×0.7854= area or R×R×pi or any other way you want to calculate it.

http://www.petersenproducts.com/Copper- ... s/1979.htm

I am going to be using a 1-1/2" sch10 SS riser and 2-1/2" copper cap in a much larger pipe. It adds up like this.
2-1/2" L pipe ID is 2.465 = 4.7722sq inches
1-1/2" sch10 SS pipe OD is 1.9" =2.835sq inches
ID is 1.682 = 2.222 sq inches
So 4.7722 -2.835= 1.937 sq inches between the riser and cap which is close to the riser ID area of 2.222.

Does this make sense or am I just rambling?

If you were to use the 3" cap inside the 4" column at 4" tall would give you a bath volume of 270ml + - 10ml. I would recommend a higher volume if you want it to be used as an inline thumper. It will all work as you have it though.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby shadylane » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:47 pm

bluefish_dist wrote:I run a 6" plate under my 4" packed column at 5500w. I found that normal bubble caps start to flood at about 4000w on a 4". Sieve plates will easily take 6000w. With that in mind I would either upsize the bubble plate or run a sieve plate.


+1 or put the packed column ontop a thumper.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 pm

Thanks for your input pfshine.

Here is a handy table to help with OD and ID sizing. Take the area from the ID of the cap subtract the area of the OD of the riser. This should be roughly the same as the area of the ID of the riser.

I understand the concept, but Im not quite sure I follow the formula. Does your way give you more or less the same result as if you are to just go by sectional areas coloured in green and red below?

small inline thumper axo rev1.jpg
Cap height is drawn as 2". Would an extended downcomer work to increase thumper volume?


If you were to use the 3" cap inside the 4" column at 4" tall would give you a bath volume of 270ml + - 10ml. I would recommend a higher volume if you want it to be used as an inline thumper. It will all work as you have it though.

I was wondering about that, as volume seems to be an important part of a thumper design. In the drawing above, I have down sized the tubing down so as to not take up as much volume. Hopefully this would still allow enough space in the vapor path. enough Can you have a extended downcomer like the way Ive drawn (so as to increase thumper depth); or would there be downward liquid pressure issues causing liquid to push back through the riser?

Much appreciate.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:33 pm

bluefish_dist wrote:I run a 6" plate under my 4" packed column at 5500w. I found that normal bubble caps start to flood at about 4000w on a 4". Sieve plates will easily take 6000w. With that in mind I would either upsize the bubble plate or run a sieve plate.


Thanks guys;

The perf plate comment is interesting. I have been thinking that going by what I have read that perf plates might probably be better for what I am trying to do. Its just all that dam drilling and I dont have a drill press. I hate to think how may bits I would go through!

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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby bluefish_dist » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:48 am

There are a couple places that sell perf plates. One would run you $15 or so. Well worth spending the $ vs drilling by hand.

I made some and have a fixture for running them on cnc. 4" take about 1hr on the cnc to do just over 200 holes.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:02 pm

bluefish_dist wrote:There are a couple places that sell perf plates. One would run you $15 or so. Well worth spending the $ vs drilling by hand.


Just seems the logical way to go; at least to get me started. I can experiment with bubble plates and mini thumpers later and I dont really have enough copper for them right now anyway. I had a quick look online in the usual places; but couldnt see any suppliers that made me hit the Buy Now button. I'll keep looking (Im in Australia, so international postage can sometimes be cost prohibitive).

Failing that, Ill make some. I have an acquaintance with a drill press and am going to ask if I can use hers. If not, Ill just drill the dam holes myself. A couple of beers will make the task enjoyable.

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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:31 am

So, I went ahead and drilled an bunch of 1.5mm holes into my plate. Perf it is! It was really easy with a drill press.
Ive uploaded a couple of photos of my progress and also the drilling template I used, to my build thread : viewtopic.php?f=50&t=69904&p=7522260#p7522260
So, thanks for you input guys. I'm going to build a thumper/mini when I get done with the current tasks.

CS
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Fri May 04, 2018 7:05 am

Hey guys, just thought Id show you my first perf plate. Ive got to say, perf plates have got to be the easiest plate to build. 50 minutes of drilling would have to be faster than the time it would take to build 6 risers and caps! I cant wait to run my and see what happens!

Thanks again bluefish for the advice. I had totally rules our perf plates for some reason. Im glad you mentioned it as otherwise, I probably would not have pursued with this option. PFshine, Im going to build some cap plates later this year; so will be coming back to your equation as a reference.

I have zero experience with plates, so I just to see what happen, Im experimenting with a really high down comer (80mm). No doubt you experienced lads and ladies will be shaking you at this!

It extends 120mm below the plate. It will have a vapor lock attached via a SS screw through the side, which will clamp onto the outside of the down comer. This isn't shown in its final completed form as it needs to be resoldered due to being leaky.

CS :D
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80mm high down comer,extending 120mm below the plate. Vapor locks not finished
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby pfshine » Fri May 04, 2018 7:54 am

Looking good. Just remember the fluid trap needs to be deeper than the fluid level on the plate to keep the vapor from bypassing the plate.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby bluefish_dist » Fri May 04, 2018 10:50 am

I run 1/2" bath depth on my plates. Seems to work well. Short downcomers don't work well, longer is better.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Wed May 23, 2018 6:57 am

Thanks guys.

bluefish_dist wrote:I run 1/2" bath depth on my plates. Seems to work well. Short downcomers don't work well, longer is better.

I'm intrigued by all things thumpers at the moment. I still have not got my head around the ins and outs of them. I want to see what happens with a 80mm high down comer as pseudo mini-inline type (brings my to pfshines comment). After that I will probably cut the downcomer back to 0.5" or 0.75".


pfshine wrote:the fluid trap needs to be deeper than the fluid level on the plate to keep the vapor from bypassing the plate.

I only had one bit of copper suitable for a trap so had to use that even though its probably too short to use with the high 80mm downcomer. This was a 1.75" long piece of 1". Its going to be good for me to see first hand what happens when I run with it.
086b.jpg


I'll keep you posted in a few weeks!

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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:19 pm

Ran my perf plate for the first time the other day; thought I'd post how it went.

I kept the down comer really high as I wanted to see how deep the liquid bath would get when running at full power (4400w / 240VAC). The down comer height was 120mm and extended 80mm below the plate. With an uninsulated still charged with 35% ABV heads and running in full reflux (with one plate and no packing), the bath got to about 75mm deep.

Given that there was zero takeoff, I'm curious to know what prevented the liquid bath depth level to increase. My thoughts are that maybe bubbles were spilling over into the down comer; or perhaps liquid was being forced down through some of the perf holes. ¯\(o_o)/¯

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75mm bath depth
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Yummyrum » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:34 pm

Cletus .

You say the down comer was 120mm long .
Is that total length ( so there is 40mm above the plate and 80mm below ) or the length above the plate is 120mm?

I'm tending to think you ment the level never reached the height of the down comer .
If this is the case then did you prime the trap first ?
My thoughts are that maybe it never filled and at 4400W it remained hot and dry bypassing all the vapour . Not sure how big your holes are but with all the vapour going straight up the down comer , there may not have been sufficient pressure to hold the fluid on the plate and it returned as you say through the holes ..

Perhaps next time Prime the trap first and vary the power a bit ...see if that helps keep the level at the downcomer height
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby bluefish_dist » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:02 am

Seems really deep and as mentioned the trap won't fill until there is enough of a level to overflow down the downcomer. I only run a 12mm deep bath and about 100mm below the plate.

The plate might not be able to hold any more liquid. As it gets deeper the pressure increases due to the weight and it may just be pushing liquid back through the plate. My plates do drip a little, but it doesn't seem to cause any issues.
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:32 pm

Thanks for your input guys. Your thoughts sounded logical enough to me.

Yummyrum wrote:You say the down comer was 120mm long. Is that total length... or the length above the plate is 120mm? Length above is 120mm, length below is 80mm.
I'm tending to think you meant the level never reached the height of the down comer. Correct
If this is the case then did you prime the trap first? Yes
My thoughts are that maybe it never filled and at 4400W it remained hot and dry bypassing all the vapour . Not sure how big your holes are 1.5mm but with all the vapour going straight up the down comer , there may not have been sufficient pressure to hold the fluid on the plate and it returned as you say through the holes. A logical scenario. Partial bypassing could have reduced upwards pressure through the plate, making this scenario a possibility (provided there was another cause for bypassing)


bluefish_dist wrote:Seems really deep and as mentioned the trap won't fill until there is enough of a level to overflow down the downcomer. Good point I only run a 12mm deep bath and about 100mm below the plate. A logical scenario

The plate might not be able to hold any more liquid. As it gets deeper the pressure increases due to the weight and it may just be pushing liquid back through the plate. Another logical scenario
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Re: Best Plate to put Under a 4" Packed Column

Postby Cletus_Spuckler » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:36 pm

So, if I got this right, two possible scenarios could be:

1) The bath depth simply created too much downward pressure for the power of my boiler.

Or

2) Some vapor is bypassing the plate via the trap; thus preventing the sufficient upwards pressure required for the bath level to become any deeper (refer back to scenario 1).
I did prime the trap with some of the charge. Is it possible that the contents (15ml) could have evaporated in the time it took to fill the plate the top of the down comer?
Maybe the trap just wasn't deep enough and became an easier vapor route.
Either way, the trap would not be refilling if bath depth could not reach the top of the overflow weir.

So to test, I could probably either; plug some of the plate perforations, make a deeper trap or flip the plate (so that downcomer would be 80mm above and 120mm below). But seeing this whole exercise was just a "I wonder what would happen if" scenario, I'm not sure its a priority for me right now! Unless... which brings me to my next question:

What are the implications to final product of having a very deep bath depth? Does it raise proof? Does if remove flavour?

CS :thumbup:
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