The gate valve

Plate Distillation
Figure A6-2

A 2.5cm (1" ) gate valve controls the size of the opening through which vapor flows to the product condenser. This valve is at the heart of vapor management, and allows adjustment of the reflux ratio. As its name implies, it works by sliding a flat plate (or 'gate') across the whole width of the tube that runs through it. Gate valves (sometimes called 'slide' valves) are readily available from any plumbing or hardware store as they are a commonly used item. It is connected to the side arm of this junction, and then to an elbow to the other side of the valve. A small Liebig condenser is attached to this elbow. This condenser doesn't have to be big, as it will usually only have to cope about half the heat output of the heater when at its "production" setting of around 750 to 1000 watts. If you want to use the still as a stripper as well, then the rating you should aim for is around half the heat output of the heater when running on full power. A 1 cm (3/8 inch) diameter central tube running through about 45 cm (18 inches) of water jacket pipe should be adequate for all applications.

Attach the Liebig condenser the column of the still with a strut to avoid putting undue strain on the top joints.

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