The Hatstand model

Thermometer

1/4" X 3/8' compression fitting

When faced with the problem of how to condense a stream of vapour to liquid and then split the liquid stream into two parts, everyone has his own idea of how to do it better, easier, more cheaply and more beautifully than the "Mexican cactus" design shown above. We, too, have played around with dozens of different ideas, and the conclusion reached is that there isn't anything too much wrong with the Mexican cactus. It has a lot going for it. But, to demonstrate that there are different designs, a linear rather than an offset model is shown in Figure 6. We call it the "Hatstand" model.

The same boiler and packed column are used, but as will be seen from Figure 6, the column and stillhead are in line with one another and there is no jog as there is with the Mexican cactus. Its features are:

1). The thermometer is set in at a 45° angle to the column using a compression fitting and with the thermometer bulb just above the packing.

2). A collection "cup" is made from a _" copper pipe cap. In the centre of the cap a short length of 1/4" copper tubing is silver-soldered in place with about 3/s" standing proud above the bottom of the cap to act as overflow, this tubing extending far enough below the cup to convey the overflow of liquid to the top of the packing while by-passing the thermometer figure 6. the "hatstand" stillhead

Thermometer

Collection cup

1/4" X 3/8' compression fitting

Packing

Collection cup

Packing bulb. The overflow tube should be closed at the top and a hole drilled in the side of the tube just below the top. This is to prevent condensed liquid falling straight down through the overflow to the packing.

3). A second short length of copper tubing connects the bottom of the cup to the outside world where the flow is controlled by a needle valve. In use it will be seen that, when the valve is completely closed, all the liquid falling into the cup will overflow on to the packing. When the valve is completely open all the liquid will exit the column and none fall onto the packing.

4). To ensure that all the vapour condensed by the cooling coil runs down into the collection cup, a IV4" x 3/4" adapter is soldered, upside down, to the top of the column. The 3A" end points downwards and is cut at a 45° angle to give a drip-tip so that all (or at least most of) the condensed liquid falls into the cup. Without this arrangement, for example if the IV4" x 3A" adapter were omitted, some liquid would miss the cup altogether.

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