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Q: chemical engineering ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: chemical engineering
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: idavid-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 19 Nov 2003 14:27 PST
Expires: 19 Dec 2003 14:27 PST
Question ID: 278352
I wish to find a picture or nice depiction of a chemical-engineering
device known as "batch-reflux". (Used for example, for distillation of liquors).
The illustrated (web) encyclopaedia of the university of michigan might be
of help.
Subject: Re: chemical engineering
Answered By: byrd-ga on 19 Nov 2003 20:05 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello IDavid,

Thank you for a very interesting challenge.  I was unable to locate a 
freely available illustrated encyclopedia at U of M.  If you have a 
link for that particular encyclopedia and would like me to search it 
for an illustration of a batch reflux device, please post it in a 
clarification and I will be glad to do so.

However, in lieu of that, what I have found are diagrams and 
illustrations for a number of batch reflux devices, ranging from a 
home distillation apparatus (with reflux) to equipment for farm and 
home production of alcohol fuels to distillation apparatus to complex 
petrochemical distilling plants.  As I?m sure you already know, this 
is no simple topic, nor is there any such thing as a generic batch 
reflux device.  Therefore, I am including links to a variety of 
batch-reflux devices and distillation apparatuses.

This might come the closest to a simple device.  This link is to a .
pdf file for a document entitled, ?Building a Home Distillation 
Apparatus: A Step by Step Guide.?  Chapter 4 (page 14 ff) of this 
document is on ?Reflux Stills? and ?Batch Distillation,? and includes 
an overview of the history and development of these devices, as well 
as some illustrations that may be of 
to you.

This site ( ) 
sells illustrated (with color pictures and diagrams) instructions  for 
building a home reflux distillation apparatus (reflux still) for $4.97 
plus $2.95 s/h.  It?s a little confusing.  At first it seems they 
might have something unique.  But then, scrolling down their page, one 
runs into an illustration very similar to that contained in the page 
linked to above.  Couldn?t hurt to look.

Here?s an excerpt of their copy: ?Basically, the reflux still is a 
structure that allows the distillate vapors from a boiler to rise up a 
column to the top where the vapors are condensed. The condensed liquid 
is then allowed to run back down through the rising vapors to a point 
where the temperatures become hot enough that it boils again. This 
process is called refluxing. As this cycle continues, the mixture 
inside the tower is effectively re-distilled. In the process, the 
components of the mixture separate into discrete layers within the 
column based on their boiling points.? ?At the time of this writing, 
there is only one like it.? This is the same way it is done in 
industry, except their stills allow them to draw off  the multiple 
layers, or different chemical components, at once!?

This page on distilling alcohol has links to drawings of stills and 
more links to other related sites:

Chapter 11 from ?The Manual for the Home and Farm Production of 
Alcohol Fuel? is on distillation theory with illustrations of a reflux 
column among other still components, and links to other information:

This page on ?Batch Distillation? includes a number of illustrations:
This ?Distillation Handbook? has explication and illustration of a 
number of distillation apparatuses, including an illustration of an 
industrial batch apparatus with reflux:

?The Distillation Group, Inc.? has a great deal of information on a 
variety of distillation equipment, including that used in batch 
distillation with reflux, as well as links to more.  They have a link 
to a photo gallery that unfortunately seems to be down currently, 
although it may be resurrected.  An email might yield some assistance 

This company, Garg Scientific Glass Industries, has illustrations of a 
number of distillation devices, including a batch distillation reflux 

This illustration of a distillation packed column appears to be used 
as an instructional aid that can be applied to either batch or 
steady-state (continuous) distillation:

I hope these photos and illustrations will meet your needs.  But if 
not, or I have misunderstood what you?re looking for, please do ask 
for clarification before rating and closing the question, so I might 
have the opportunity to be sure you?re satisfied with the information 
given.  Also, if you need something other than I?ve provided here, 
please post a clarification stating more specifically exactly what 
type of picture or illustration you?re looking for and I will be happy 
to search further to help you find what you need.

Best regards,

Search terms used:
batch reflux distillation apparatus OR device OR equipment
"beverage industry" batch reflux
alcohol batch reflux distillation apparatus OR device OR equipment

Request for Answer Clarification by idavid-ga on 22 Nov 2003 05:05 PST
Many thanks for a thorough answer. 
I haven't read and checked the whole of it yet, but the first
para. Can you please check:

Thanks again, Idavid

Clarification of Answer by byrd-ga on 22 Nov 2003 10:01 PST
Hello Idavid,

Many thanks for the link.  I did go and check it out, and though on 
the surface it looks like an online encyclopedia, unfortunately on 
closer inspection turns out it?s an ad for a CD-ROM called ?Visual 
Encyclopedia of Chemical Engineering Equipment.?  Here?s the main page 
about it: and you can 
view an online brochure, here:

Now, if you are a student at U of M, it seems possible that this 
encyclopedia is available through the ?Multimedia Educational 
Laboratory? there.  But if not, and/or it?s not possible for you 
otherwise to make use of this study aid in person, here is the info 
for ordering the CD:

To order the following CDs:
Visual Encyclopedia of Chemical Engineering Equipment
Material and Energy Balances
Engineering Fundamentals in Biological Systems.
Please contact the CACHE Corporation:
CACHE Corporation
P.O. Box 7939
Austin, TX 78713
(512) 471-4933

Each CD costs $25 and works on both Macintosh and Windows 95/NT 
computers. The CD can be installed on educational computer networks 
for student access.

For any other information regarding the Multimedia Education 
Laboratory, please contact:

Dr. Susan Montgomery
Chemical Engineering Department
University of Michigan
3094 Dow Building
2300 Hayward St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136
phone: (734) 936-1890
fax: (734) 763-0459

If you do decide to place an order with Cache Corp., you might want to 
check out their other offerings, such as a dedicated batch 
distillation course on 2 PC diskettes, entitled, ?MultiBatchDS 
Educational Version 2.0,? though this one is a bit pricey at around $
100.  Here?s a link to it:


Although it doesn?t appear that UM link is going to yield a free 
illustration (though for the price I have to say it looks very 
promising) I did do a little further research and came up with several 
more links to illustrations of batch distillation equipment for you.

Here?s a great illustration of a batch distillation unit from the U of 
Florida Chemical Engineering Dept:

This commercial site from ?De Dietrich Process Systems? has some good 
illustrations, including a batch distillation  reflux column.  You?ll 
need to scroll down about three-quarters of the page:

Here is a .pdf document for a lab exercise on batch distillation, 
which includes a schematic of such equipment with a packed column (vs. 
a tray column):
This company, Artisan Industries, has an illustration of batch 
distillation apparatus with the tray type of column (you?ll need to 
scroll down about halfway):

Here?s an interesting discussion on vapor-liquid separation, with 

And this explanation of multi-stage batch (reflux) distillation also 
has some good illustrations:

This student-prepared proposal, entitled ?Batch and Continuous Column 
Distillation Optimazation and Design Project,? contains a schematic of 
distillation equipment for both operations, and may be helpful:


I hope with this additional information, together with that provided 
previously, you might be able to locate a depiction of this kind of 
equipment that will suit your needs.  Please let me know if there is 
anything further I can do to help you.  Thank you, and best wishes.

Further search terms used:
["batch distillation" equipment reflux apparatus diagram OR 
illustration OR drawing OR depiction]
["batch distillation" apparatus diagram OR illustration OR drawing OR 
["batch distillation" reflux apparatus diagram OR illustration OR 
drawing OR depiction]
These were run both with and without the added qualifier: [ ]

Request for Answer Clarification by idavid-ga on 23 Nov 2003 03:23 PST
Many thanks again.

I would be obliged if you could ask umich if the encyclopedia
contains what i ask (or look more closely in the
ad than i could ). in this case i'll purchase the cd.

I appreciate very much your efforts so far, they are definitely


Clarification of Answer by byrd-ga on 23 Nov 2003 07:08 PST
Hello Idavid,

The description in the brochure for the "Visual Encyclopedia for
Chemical Engineering Equipment" CD lists a "distillation column."  But
that could, of course, be for a continuous distillation device rather
than batch.  I've emailed both the U. of M. contact and sent an
inquiry to Cache Corp. asking if the encyclopedia contains
specifically an illustration of a batch reflux distillation device
with reflux.  I also asked whether it was available online, or for
download, or only on CD. It will likely not be immediately, since
today is Sunday, but I'll let you know what they say as soon as I
receive a reply.


Clarification of Answer by byrd-ga on 24 Nov 2003 07:53 PST
Hello Idavid,

This morning I received a reply to my inquiry from Dr. Susan
Montgomery, listed above as the contact for UM Chemical Engineering
Dept.  Regarding the "Visual Encyclopedia of Chemical Engineering
Equipment, she said, "We do not have it, and it?s not available
online."  She made no reference to my question as to whether this
resource actually contained the illustration you are looking for.

I am still waiting for a reply from Cache Corporation.


Clarification of Answer by byrd-ga on 25 Nov 2003 07:42 PST
Hello Idavid,

Here is the latest report on progress on locating information about
that CD:  After receiving a mail delivery failure notification on the
email sent to Cache Corp. yesterday, I phoned them this morning. 
Fortunately it was a local call for me since they don't list a
toll-free number.  It rang through to the Chemical Engineering
Department at University of Texas, where the phone was answered by a
person who merely handles incoming calls, and is different than the
person who handles the orders for Cache Corp.  This person told me
first, that the email address is valid, but they sometimes have
trouble with it, so the message may yet make it through.

Secondly, she said they have no idea what is on the CD as they only
sell it.  She referred me back to Dr. Susan Montgomery at U. of
Michigan as the person who produced the CD.  So I have emailed her a
second time asking if the illustration you are looking for is on the
CD or not, and am currently awaiting a reply.  Hopefully I will
receive one.  I'll wait a few days, but if no reply is forthcoming,
you may have no recourse but to purchase the CD if you're determined
to see what's on it, or else avail yourself of one or more of the
other illustrations available online.  I'll keep you advised.


Clarification of Answer by byrd-ga on 25 Nov 2003 08:50 PST
Hi Idavid,

Well I received a reply sooner than expected from Dr. Montgomery. 
Here's what she said: "I?m sorry, my ?we do not have it? referred to
the fact that we don?t cover batch reflux devices.  My apologies for
not being clearer on that matter."

So. That settles it - the University of Michigan "Visual Encyclopedia
of Chemical Engineering Equipment" does NOT have the illustration
you're looking for. Again, I hope at least one of the links previoudly
provided will lead you to a visual depiction that will meet your

Thank you again for the opportunity to assist you, and of course, let
me know if there is anything else you don't understand that I can
further clarify for you.

Kindest regards,
idavid-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $7.50
I am amazed by the thoroughness and diligence of the researcher Byrd.
The missing star is only because i am not sure yet that the picture i
wanted is there. But the help is amazing, thanks.

Subject: Re: chemical engineering
From: byrd-ga on 25 Nov 2003 13:41 PST
Hi Idavid,

I'm very hopeful you will be able to find the particular illustration
you're looking for among the links provided, as there's quite a
variety from which to choose.  Thank you again for the opportunity to
be of assistance and also, of course, for the kind words and most
generous tip!

Best of luck,

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