We have been using copper "srubbies" in our reflux column for sometime now. We are upgrading our shop in the up coming summer so I was looking into methanol recovery a little more in depth.
So, I was curious to see if anyone could help me with the contents of a reflux column. Are marbles better than metal scrubbies? Will the hot methanol corrode the copper?
Dickinson College Biodiesel
Senior Intern and Production Manager
Dickinson College '12
Same scouring pads are available in stainless steel, and they won't corrode or react with the methnaol. Some have used marbles but found pitting after awhile, but I digress. Others with direct experience in reflux stills will want to chime in and fill in the blanks. I use a pot still configuration.
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We took ours apart recently and found that the glass marbles we used (from a dollar store) were pitted. We also had some copper scrubbies in there and they were fine, just a little patina on them. We rebuilt ours with stainless shavings from a machine shop. Still getting 99% pure methanol out of ours.
So you guys at Dickinson finally built a still? Last time I was there in 08 I picked up a barrel of your glycerin that was not demethed. Say hi to Matt and Andrew for me.
I use ceramic raschig rings. They don't corrode and most importantly, they don't compact and impede vapor flow. They are a bit pricey but maintenance free and way lighter than marbles and steel. They also have 30% more surface area than a marble. I dump mine out about every third or fourth recovery and wash them off with a hose. Seldom see anything but a small bit of "glycerine smudge" on the very bottom pieces.
My column and condenser are both made out of copper and they show no signs of degradation from methanol.
NormanThis message has been edited. Last edited by: StorminNorman,
The stainless scrubbers give a huge amount of surface are per unit of column height. Way more than Raschig rings and marbles. They are cheap and last quite a while. Check out www.homedistiller.org in the reflux column section for more info than you would ever need (unless of course you are distilling ethanol )
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ditto on the stainless steel scrubs..
methanol doesn't seem to bother copper.
my column is copper as is the the plumbing that follows the column until the collection tank. ok with the exception of 3 feet of plastic hose at the output of the condenser.
I found my scrubs at a place online..fairly cheap..way cheaper then buying something from the store.
also look at restaurant supply places.
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