Distillation FAQ
Equipment Menu About Us Contact

Common Usage

Welcome to our FAQ on distillation.  Here you will find explanations and downloadable PDF files on the equipment.  Also, don't forget to check at our sister site for even more information on distillation, evaporation, and small automatic washing booths. 

For a list of common chemicals that are distilled, please see "Common Usage".

Distillation FAQ

  1. What is Distillation?
  2. What are some uses of Distillation?
  3. What if I have mixed Solvents?
  4. Can I make Liqueur?
  5. How much can I reduce my waste solvent?
  6. What if my Solvent is Flammable?

Download PDF:

DIstatic Distiller

DYnamic Distiller

Evaporators Brochure

Evaporators Process Design


What is distillation?

Most solvents have a boiling point that is lower than water.  Water has a boiling point of 212 degrees F, or 100 degrees C.  If you have a solvent that is mixed with water, a distillation unit would warm the waste to the boiling temperature of the solvent.   At its boiling point, the solvent turns into a gas.  The gas wants to expand, which actually "pushes" the vapor out of the distillation chamber and trough the condenser where it is cooled.  As the vapor cools, it turns back into a liquid.   At the discharge of the condenser you will have clean solvent that can be reused over and over.

Back to Top

What are some uses of Distillation?

Distillation is a means to separate solvents and / or reduce chemical waste.  If you have read the answer to the first question, you understand the process by which the materials are separated.  If you have a solvent that is contaminated with dirt and grease, as is a auto repair application, you can reclaim you dirty solvent.  As the waste is heated the solvent will turn to vapor and discharge into a container.   Remaining in the distillation chamber you will find the grit and grease that was once contained in the dirty solvent.  By applying distillation, you can eliminate the need for solvent waste removal and may not buy any solvent for a long, long time.

This same process can be applied to paint contaminated solvent as well as many other contamination's

Back to Top

What if I have mixed Solvents?

The boiling point of both solvents must be determined.  A distillation unit with DUAL set points for temperature must be used.  The solvent with the lower set point must first be removed by operating the unit at the lower boiling point.  After the first solvent have been reclaimed, the unit switches to the higher set point to distill the second solvent.

Dual set-point units are available.  And they even have a three-way discharge valve to place the solvents into separate containers.

Back to Top

Can I make Liqueur?

Well, it's not up to us to say what you should do with your unit, but....

This is is the same method that is applied to making liqueur.  Wines are often distilled to separate the alcohol from the water in the wine.  This discharges a very potent mixture.  We cannot be held liable for people falling down after operation our machines.

Units are available with stainless steel condensers for "food type" processing as well as solvents that may deteriorate the standard copper condenser.   The distillation chambers are always made of stainless steel.

Back to Top

How much can I reduce my Waste Solvent?

Depending on the unit selected, it will be around 90 to 92 percent, or 98 to 100 percent.  Part of this depends on what is contained in your waste solvent, the rest depends on the unit.

The DIstatic Series Distillation units are generally at the 92 percent efficiency.  The waste generated will contain some solvent and is therefore a liquid waste.  This is also generally a "Hazardous Waste".  But with distillation, you have only 8 to 10 percent of the waste you normally have.

The DYnamic Series Distillation units can be 100 percent efficient.  The Dynamic Series utilize a "Mixing Blade" to mix and grind the waste.  Through its application, the wasted generated is usually a dry flake of powder.  If you are familiar with the EPA regulations, you know that wastes must have a TCLP test performed for disposal.  This is a "Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure". Obviously if your waste is completely dry, there is no byproduct to "leach" out of the waste.  Some of these wastes can now be disposed of in the normal trash.

Back to Top

What if my Solvent is Flammable?

Flammable Solvents can be distilled by use of a Vacuum chamber.  By distilling under a vacuum, the boiling point can be lowered by nearly 25 percent.  This way the solvent does not have to reach as high a temperature.  With a vacuum the vapor does not create a pressure or build up of dangerous gases.

This also applies to solvents that have a high boiling point.  Use of the vacuum chamber allows for distillation at a lower temperature.

Back to Top


Page last modified: March, 2015  

2015 Sawyer and Smith Corporation