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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.