50 Litre Mini Still - Standard
£5,950 + VAT
Suitable for standard plant material
Fully insulated mini still for steam distillation.
3kw heating system with heat transfer fluid with double-jacketed vermiculite insulation.
Quilted Cone Jacket
British Stainless Steel 304 Food Grade.
Borosilicate Pyrex glassware (handblown in England), with stainless clips.
What is it?
This still comprises a stainless steel boiling vessel that sits directly on top of a second chamber: this lower chamber is fitted with a special 3 kW heating element designed exclusively for this purpose and is connected to a vented expansion/filling tank mounted on the side of the boiling vessel. This lower chamber and expansion tank are filled with heat-transfer fluid and the tank accepts the excess fluid as it expands and contracts during the distillation process. A sight-glass is included on the side of the expansion tank for this purpose.
The boiling vessel is designed to hold a 50 litre charge basket fitted with a mesh base. The basket is filled with the plant material and fits inside the boiling vessel: the basket will be suspended above the boiling water, so that it can be used for the distillation of most perfumery plant materials.
A second stainless steel jacket fits around this vessel that is packed with Vermiculite insulant and this covers both the walls of the boiling chamber as well as the walls and base of the heating chamber.
The boiling vessel can drain through an orifice via a ½ inch 90° bend that is welded onto the base. This bend terminates in an 'L-port' valve that ensures the boiling vessel will remain free from any pressure build up because it is locked in the open position: it also carries a vertical pressure relief pipe on its vertical (open) arm.
A stainless steel cone fits on top of the boiling vessel and can be locked in place. It is fitted with a 100mm flange at its top: this flange has a PTFE gasket and is then fitted with a Pyrex ground glass flange lid equipped with a single central B29 socket; the flanged surfaces are secured together with a stainless steel clip.
A hand-blown specially customised 'Dean & Stark' apparatus fits into the B29 lid socket and this is supported by using a customised boss and clamp. The boss is affixed to a vertical stainless steel supporting rod that is securely clamped to the back of the boiling vessel for this purpose.
Finally a highly efficient glass condenser fits into the top socket of the Dean & Stark apparatus and this is also supported using a second boss and clamp affixed to the same vertical stainless steel rod. This condenser is coupled to tap water using rubber hoses to produce the required cooling to condense the steam.
How it Works:
The Mini Still can be used with most standard perfumery plant materials including flowers, leaves, bark and many roots etc. The water boils because the heater element heats the heat-transfer fluid which in turn boils the water. This is highly efficient because the boiling vessel is highly insulated. The basket is fitted with a top rim that rests on the top flange of the boiling vessel, keeping it suspended above the boiling water. The basket is filled and placed in the boiling vessel that has been filled with about10 litres of water so that when the water boils, dry steam passes through the basket and up the side arm of the Dean & Stark to the condenser. Here the steam condenses and the condensate drips down into the main body of the Dean & Stark where the oil separates, whilst the water returns back to the boiling vessel. Distillation continues until the oil level does not increase over a period of say 20 minutes.
How to Operate it:
For the first-time use, the heat-transfer liquid is poured into the expansion tank via its filler cap: the fluid will then fill the lower boiling chamber. Continue adding until the fluid level just appears on the sight glass, then close the filler cap (obviously the expansion tank is still vented for safety reasons).
The boiling vessel is roughly filled with about 10 litres water and the charge basket pre-filled with a known weight of plant material is placed inside. The stainless steel cone top is fixed in place and the side clamps lock it down onto the boiling vessel. Rubber tubing is fitted to the condenser inlet and this is coupled to the tap, whilst the tubing on the outlet goes to waste. Water should then be allowed to flow as a steady trickle. All the glassware joints are well silicon-greased prior to fitting them together and the Dean & Stark and condenser are supported with clamps. The heating is then turned on and once boiling point has been reached, turned back so a regular 'rolling boil' is achieved with about 3 drips per second falling from the condenser.
The 'L-Port' valve fixed to the outlet must remain locked open to ensure that no pressure can build up during the distillation process.
The essential oil will accumulate in the Dean & Stark and may need to be drained off at intervals if the measuring arm begins to get full – this is possible for high yielding oils such as Lavandin etc. Continue to distil until the layer of essential oil stops increasing.