4" collum questions

Vapor, Liquid or Cooling Management. Flutes, plates, etc.

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Xenogenesis
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4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:01 am

Hi guys, Newish to the forum, been lurking.....

I am in the early construction phases of a 140L still, copper drum from a hot water system.... a bit of background on myself, I am a plumber by trade, specialising in gas fitting/combustion.
I have used a 20L still spirits "super(wank) reflux still" for the last 6 years, running 5 X 20L fermenters through it has grown quite old, and consuming a weekend at a time...
Have just orderd the burner (yes gas ofcourse, I am afterall employed as a gasfitter...) 131mj/h (131,000btu), I know this is largely on the overkill side, but its a 32nozzle burner and i can throttle the burner back, or reduce the number of nozzles as required.
I have approx 5m of 4" copper laying around at work at my disposal, have already fitted a 4" neck and bolt up flange to the boiler.....
my question is of the design and layout of the collum, as I can find precious little info on anything but fuel distilleries this size.
Have not yet decided on type, was hoping on some insight on effeciencies, I have unlimited supplies of gas to keep the burner running if need be, and a water meter bypass is a synch..
Thinking somewhere around 2m of 4" for the collum, and using 1/2" (15mm) copper pipe for coil?
Im in the process of welding up a base for the boiler, to house burner, and support collum, so no great rush.

Any help would be much appreciated :)

Xenogenesis
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:03 am

Also have a few pics, if anyone is interested, just let me know so I can upload when on other pc.

Ugly

Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Ugly » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:36 am

The ratio of size to height hold the same 24:1 is about the max 12:1 about the least so 4-8 feet is the target with 8 being the high side.

I have a large still, that it's for fuel doesn't matter. It's basically a valved reflux and LM combo design but I'd just stick with VM were I doing it again. (mine is many years old). Coils really aren't required for reflux - I'd likely do a multi point coldfinger for a 4" and not even bother with windings. Say 4 3/4" coldfingers 12" long with a nice copper mesh packing around them will knock down the heat you're putting in there. I knock down more BTU's with less surface area on the big still than what you have outlined so you'll be well on the safe side.

HookLine
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by HookLine » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:56 am

Welcome XenoG

A 4" column and a 140 litre boiler is getting pretty big just for making personal consumption beverage alcohol. Don't see many that size here, especially 4" columns.
Xenogenesis wrote:my question is of the design and layout of the collum, as I can find precious little info on anything but fuel distilleries this size.
Well, that is because the fuel guys are the ones who use the bigger columns and so are the experts on them.

Probably worth checking out this forum and see if they can help you.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/alcoholfuel/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
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eternalfrost
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by eternalfrost » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:08 am

a good size for personal-use is 2. this gives you 4Pi cross section. a 4" column gives you 16Pi cross section, four times bigger!

as hook said, the reason theres not much on 4" is cuz its just so damn huge. youll need roughly four times the power to run it, four times the mash to feed it, four times the boiler size to hold it, and four times the space to store all the output.

trust me, a 2 or 3 inch column will give you way more then youll ever need. and be much much much cheaper and simpler to make.
the only reason i can see to make a 4" is for fuel or just to show off as a novelty. you also want the height to be in a rough proportion to the width, meaning your going to want an extra tall tower as well. a 2" column does well at about 4-5 feet, this is scraping the ceilings of most places. a 4" would pretty much require it to be outside from its sheer size.

kinda like having .50 magnum handgun. its neat on its own, but not much use or practical for much of anything.

minime
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by minime » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:41 am

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that bigger isn't always about adding volume. I went from a 2" column to a 3" column to shorten the run times rather than make more booze. I was finding the amount of time invested to run off a couple of gallons of neutral was just too long a day. I also considered a 4 inch column to shorten the run time even further. I have all the material and I might do it some day but for now I'm pretty satisfied with the 3" column. Riku suggests the packing in a 4" column holds on to a couple liters of neutral in the packing which is a very significant loss indeed.
Xenogenesis wrote:Any help would be much appreciated :)
Send me a PM if you want to discuss 4" designs.

punkin
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by punkin » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:51 am

I'm with Mini on the 3", i won't be building another 50mm column for myself.

4" is more than i'd need though, i think it'd be a net loss for a hobby distiller, with the cost versus speed thing and definately wastefull on a 140 litre boiler.


Now a 4" neck reducing to a 2" to 1" tapered condesor on a 220 litre boiler for fermenting and stripping....now your talking....

Xenogenesis
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:36 am

eternalfrost wrote:a good size for personal-use is 2. this gives you 4Pi cross section. a 4" column gives you 16Pi cross section, four times bigger!

as hook said, the reason theres not much on 4" is cuz its just so damn huge. youll need roughly four times the power to run it, four times the mash to feed it, four times the boiler size to hold it, and four times the space to store all the output.

trust me, a 2 or 3 inch column will give you way more then youll ever need. and be much much much cheaper and simpler to make.
the only reason i can see to make a 4" is for fuel or just to show off as a novelty. you also want the height to be in a rough proportion to the width, meaning your going to want an extra tall tower as well. a 2" column does well at about 4-5 feet, this is scraping the ceilings of most places. a 4" would pretty much require it to be outside from its sheer size.

kinda like having .50 magnum handgun. its neat on its own, but not much use or practical for much of anything.
Jeeze cmon guys, I know a 3" would do, but at over $1000 a length, plus fittings, the four inch is a cheaper option no matter how you look at it, cheaper than a 2" collum. because, if some of you happened to ignore what i said, i have the pipe sitting around.
the burner is equiv to 36000W element, halv for heat loss (roughly). anyway I could justify all day long, while your comments are valid, alot of them dont apply, in this instance anyway..

height is no issue, gas burner = not inside.....
I seem to be getting the run of the mill condecending replies here...
But to all of you trying to be helpful, thankyou.

Like minimi said, im trying to shorten the run time considerably if possible, not that fussed about losing a few litres a batch to the packing, as im saving more than a few dollars by using 4"
Last edited by Xenogenesis on Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ayay
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Ayay » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:24 am

Here 1"-2" is the norm and 3" is pushing it. Sounds really good so far and you sure sound like you can pull it off, so keep us posted! We need more input with 4" experiences.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

minime
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by minime » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:02 am

Ayay wrote:Here 1"-2" is the norm and 3" is pushing it. Sounds really good so far and you sure sound like you can pull it off, so keep us posted! We need more input with 4" experiences.
Yup, I agree that information on 4" is in short supply on this forum. Please post back here to let us know what transpires as you go along Xenogenesis. I love following build threads that take us right through startup.
Good luck

Xenogenesis
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:15 am

Heres some pics of the early/rough construction phase of boiler, trying to scource a piece of 6" to put a cleaning/inspection flange on the side... not easy/cheap to come by as you'd expect.
Image
Image
Image
have since welded up a base for it out of 50X50 RHS with intergeral collum support

Also had a few thoughts on cooling management... is there any cheap alternatives to say, controller, butterfly valve with modmotor?
Last edited by Xenogenesis on Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

minime
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by minime » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:29 am

Xenogenesis wrote:Heres some pics of the early/rough construction phase of boiler, trying to scource a piece of 6" to put a cleaning/inspection flange on the side... not easy/cheap to come by as you'd expect.t
$12 per inch
http://cgi.ebay.com/Copper-Pipe-6-Inch- ... .m20.l1116" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Xenogenesis
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:39 am

Wrong country unfortunatly, Im almost certain it would get squashed or damaged by the time it gets to Australia.
My regular trade shop only wants to sell by 1m lots :(

snuffy
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by snuffy » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:16 am

Reflux redistribution gets to be an issue when you move up in column size. Channeling of condensate in the packing effectively shrinks the diameter of the column, so it can limit your output. There hasn't been much experience with these sizes, so you are in a position to help others out by posting on your progress.

Hook had a catalog link for lab equipment that included some pictures of reflux redistributors for packed columns. Worth a look. I can't remember the thread, but I'm sure Hook knows.
Time's a wasting!!!

Mud
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Mud » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:40 am

Try asking Punkin. He's in your neck of the woods and has a lot of stuff handy.

punkin
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by punkin » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:31 am

Pretty sure i have an off cut of 150 in the yard somewhere.

eternalfrost
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by eternalfrost » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:07 pm

hell if you already got it, go for it.
it might be cheaper/easier to find to just make your own out of sheet copper once you start getting into 4-6" sizes

HookLine
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by HookLine » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:14 pm

snuffy wrote:Hook had a catalog link for lab equipment that included some pictures of reflux redistributors for packed columns. Worth a look. I can't remember the thread, but I'm sure Hook knows.
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9743
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Xenogenesis
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:47 pm

Cheeks Hookline :)
Punkin, pm sent.

madscientist
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by madscientist » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:20 pm

http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... dscientist
Here is a link to mine.
love my 4in still. runnin on propane and steel wool in the column. More than enough reflux when the three cooling lines in the top.
I can crank about 2l per hour of azetrope taking my time.

Go for it. Just make sure that you can keep it stable.

Xenogenesis
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by Xenogenesis » Sat May 07, 2011 6:32 am

Bit of thread necro....
This just in:
Image

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(Electro-pneumatic valve positioner with haz area rating)

mann_ox
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Re: 4" collum questions

Post by mann_ox » Wed May 18, 2011 10:33 pm

My understanding is that having a wider column reduces the speed the vapor lifts up it .
So wider column + add more power = Same purity + faster off take

However when using pot sctubbers i found my 2" tube out peformed the 3 1/2" tube
in every aspect ! Vapor / liquid must have started to channel im guessing .
something to do with the surface tension of the liquid maybe ?

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