Packing the T500 reflux column

Reflux still design and discussion

Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Doubleuj » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:26 am

The abv should always be around 92% min from the t500, any less than this and you’re running too hard
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Vultch » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:58 am

Thanks WJ.
I'm getting a consistent 91% abv running throughput at approx 800mls per hour, hence why I'm considering repacking the column.
Cheers.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:48 pm

There really has been no change in the AbV from 92%. There is a slight fall to 90% on a second stilling but it produces a very clean, virtually sulphur free spirit.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Rolls912 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:51 pm

I just tied some copper wire to the mesh so it came out easily.

I’ll try this packing method tomorrow. Very keen to see.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:08 pm

I found this very useful page on cleaning copper mesh before use on a South African web site. I tried it out on half a roll I brought from 5 Star and it works really well.

http://distillique.co.za/distilling_shop/articles/how-to-clean-copper-mesh.html
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby mojoz » Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:21 am

Arismac wrote:A mate of mine has just phoned to say he as tweeked my column packing as follows:

Image

This makes a lot of sense especially when it comes to removing the mesh for cleaning. It especially overcomes the problem of getting the mesh past the plumbing fitting inside the column. He tells me has about 350 grms in the copper mesh spiral. The total copper area is about the same as mine and he has produced a very acceptable spirit on the first run. Worth a try ...


Hi Arismac
Are you still using this method for column packing on the T500 or have you changed it as i have some copper mesh on the way to have a go myself, also your image indicates you have Stainless saddles at the very top of your column instead of copper, is that right.
Cheers
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:27 pm

G'day Mojoz,

Yes still using the same packing method so that all the copper mesh (two coils) are below the outflow. My still does not have any copper parts so except for the mesh I only have SS. I considered "up-grading" the column to copper but a wise guru in the forum said

"Don't bother, if you really want a clean neutral double still through copper mesh" so that is what I do now and am getting an excellent result. I use "virgin" mesh for the re-still when I really want to show off. Should mention that I have been putting a few copper saddles above the mesh but I really don't know why I bother.

I also run the still at 55C not 60C as "the book" suggests. Takes a bit longer but well worth it my opinion. My tobacco smoking mates can't tell the difference but I can.
Last edited by Arismac on Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:40 pm

Sorry, also should have said that I do not use SS saddles at any more. Waste of time and space.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby tassiespirit » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:05 pm

I have run my T500 with SS saddles and Copper mesh. First time with two rolls - this gave me so much hassle with belching and rushing etc. Then I removed the second roll of copper mesh, and this fixed my issue and a happy chappie was I. Getting an average of 93 ABV every time with the same batch - most Kale runs. Just have to remember to take out the copper mesh and clean it all up back from the black colour and flush - good to go again.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Rolls912 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:12 am

Consider buying a 2inch extension pipe from FSD. Gives you 5 more copper rolls / effective plates. Makes a big difference IMO.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:41 pm

tassiespirit wrote:I have run my T500 with SS saddles and Copper mesh. First time with two rolls - this gave me so much hassle with belching and rushing etc.


Your copper rolls were, almost certainly too tight. Perhaps try the rolls without saddles. Works well for me ....
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby tassiespirit » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:45 pm

Arismac wrote:
tassiespirit wrote:I have run my T500 with SS saddles and Copper mesh. First time with two rolls - this gave me so much hassle with belching and rushing etc.


Your copper rolls were, almost certainly too tight. Perhaps try the rolls without saddles. Works well for me ....


Ok. worth a try then. Although the saddles were loose in the top and rattled around. Maybe I rolled the mesh too tight like you mentioned.
Thanks.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:42 pm

This is a balancing act between excellent and too much copper. As others have said in the forum, over packing the T500 is a big no, no. So it may take a little practice to get the "sweet spot" between maximum copper surface exposure and an over packed column, I assure you it is well worth the effort.

When you have run the T500 for 4-5 hours at 55C for a gallon (3.8 litres) of 92% AbV of really good quality neutral, carefully weigh the total mass of the two copper mesh coils. That is then your sweet copper spot and you will have tamed the beast and will know how to saddle it up next time. Enjoy ...

Remember it is the surface area of the copper that is critical not the gross weight. It is therefore virtually impossible to over pack the column with copper saddles which is why mesh is by far the best option in terms of surface area to weight ratio. The reflux action is in no way impaired by happening in empty air above the mesh.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:51 pm

Rolls912 wrote:Consider buying a 2inch extension pipe from FSD. Gives you 5 more copper rolls / effective plates. Makes a big difference IMO.


Rolls, my learned friend, is there any danger of introducing "puking" with a 50mm extension to the T500 column? I am presuming the the extension fits to the T500 reflux column above the boiler lid and below the existing column? I ask because it seems to me that the extra mesh rolls are going to provide considerable extra "packing" to the column therefore a whole lot more for the rising vapour to push through. Certainly I know if I over pack I will get "puking".
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby scythe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:59 am

If you roll it correctly then it should not puke.
But it is an interesting thought about density of packing versus verticle height.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby mojoz » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:24 pm

Thanks for info Arismac, i am still waiting for my copper mesh to arrive but at least i have an idea how to pack it and see how it works, and i always try to keep the temp around 50/55 and with my new copper pipe i made fitted to the outlet, things might get better.

Cheers
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Arismac » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:33 pm

OK and don't forget to search this forum for the best way to clean the extrusion oil from your new copper mesh before you use it. I found a double run in the dishwasher to be the best if not the most economical.
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby Rolls912 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:15 pm

Arismac wrote:
Rolls912 wrote:Consider buying a 2inch extension pipe from FSD. Gives you 5 more copper rolls / effective plates. Makes a big difference IMO.


Rolls, my learned friend, is there any danger of introducing "puking" with a 50mm extension to the T500 column? I am presuming the the extension fits to the T500 reflux column above the boiler lid and below the existing column? I ask because it seems to me that the extra mesh rolls are going to provide considerable extra "packing" to the column therefore a whole lot more for the rising vapour to push through. Certainly I know if I over pack I will get "puking".


Mine didn’t puke - not once.

I’m no expert, but in my mind it makes me think that taller + more copper rolls, the more refluxing occurs, outputting a cleaner product. I felt it made the second biggest difference of all (The first being a boiler that doesn’t scorch).
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Re: Packing the T500 reflux column

Postby RC Al » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:38 pm

The "over packing" that your experiencing with the t500 will be having the media too dense, leaving insufficient space for vapour to go up and reflux down, this is called flooding not puking, big difference, puking is when stuff in the wash foams up and into the column

You could add a 1.5m extension to the t500 and have it run fine with the correct packing, enough wattage to do so (no idea here) and of course sufficient cooling flow rate to handle the additional heat (this applies to all reflux stills)
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