Friday February 19th, 2016 08:06 Chemistry Experiment: Distillation of Ethanol ( Ethyl Alcohol)

Chemistry experiment: Ethanol is distilled for further purity as a first step in ether synthesis

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    98 Comments on “Chemistry Experiment: Distillation of Ethanol ( Ethyl Alcohol)”

    • ytmachx October 26, 2010 at 6:56 am

      @TakronRust The EtOH was used in the ether video. I wanted it untainted.

    • spiff873 November 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      Is it practical to attempt this starting with methylated spirits?

    • ytmachx November 11, 2010 at 11:01 am

      @spiff873 Sure, but you would end up with methyl alcohol (wood alcohol) contaminated ethyl alcohol. I wouldn’t drink it.

    • spiff873 November 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

      @ytmachx
      Right. My question should have been, would/could this process a) make the methylated spirits more pure (significantly and usefully less methanol, water and other additives), and b) would that product be well suited to producing ether?
      Doubtless it would leave some traces of methanol in the ether, just as it’s nearly impossible to remove 100.00% of the water, but would it get a ~reasonably~ pure result?
      Everclear is banned in my state. Methylated spirits are cheap and available.

    • ytmachx November 14, 2010 at 10:16 am

      @spiff873 The denaturing methyl agent is virtually inseparable from the ethyl alcohol by any practical means. I’m sure that your methylated spirits will work just fine for the ether synth .

    • sparty667 November 18, 2010 at 7:58 am

      how are you moderating the still pressure?

    • ytmachx November 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

      @sparty667 There is no pressure. The still is vented at the receiver.

    • drfatleg December 28, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      Question. I see alot of people using heat mantles. When working with flammable materials such as ethanol, which of the following would you recommend? Using an explosion proof hot plate stirrer or using a heat mantle and magnetic stirrer? I have come across a Thermolyne SHP9 explosion proof hot plate stirrer. The hot plate does not work, only the stirrer. It would cost $500 to fix. For that price I can buy a good heat mantle and just use the explosion proof stirring feature of the SHP9. Help!

    • ytmachx December 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      @drfatleg The heating mantle will heat a RB flask more evenly. Glas-col makes “StirMantles” which are a stirrer and mantle combined and they are under $500

    • tenkosami January 4, 2011 at 12:15 am

      1 voter is from Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • lexichronicle2 January 31, 2011 at 8:18 am

      @spiff873 The denaturing agent is added to methylated spirits with the specific goal being to make it impossible to distil it under normal conditions and yield drinkable alcohol. There are actually guidelines for how to ‘ruin’ the alcohol in this way to make it exempt from tax.

      Alcohol can be distilled up to anhydrous by using entrainers and by distilling it under vacuum, which causes the water/ethanol azeotrope to break.

      Failing everclear, just use some cheapo, own brand vodka

    • lexichronicle2 January 31, 2011 at 8:20 am

      @spiff873 I’ll post the legal guidelines to show that it is more well calculated than you might initially think…. un momento!

    • lexichronicle2 January 31, 2011 at 8:21 am

      Completely denatured alcohol must be made in accordance with the following formulation: with every 90 parts by volume of alcohol mix 9.5 parts by volume of wood naphtha or a substitute for wood naphtha and 0.5 parts by volume of crude pyridine, and to the resulting mixture add mineral naphtha (petroleum oil) in the proportion of 3.75 litres to every 1000 litres of the mixture and synthetic organic dyestuff (methyl violet) in the proportion of 1.5 grams to every 1000 litres of the mixture

    • spiff873 February 1, 2011 at 1:36 am

      @lexichronicle2 Thanks for all your help! I’ve done some further reading; the formula you quoted is one of many, as it turns out. Most seem to wind up with about 90~95% ethanol, 5%~10% “other”. Obviously extraction of 100% pure ethanol from the “ruined” spirits would be a huge project! I’d settle for a partial purification, say near-anhydrous and 98% ethanol if it could be done in a couple of passes; I have no intent to consume. I think I will research it a bit more in future.

    • 9DragonMaster February 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

      All this because someone gave him a bottle of Everclear in college. (and he didn’t drink it) bravo!

    • Dochirin February 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      I have a school assignment where I need to describe this process and the lab equipment used for it. What’s the name of the device you’re using to heat the liquid so it vaporizes?

    • ytmachx February 20, 2011 at 12:10 am

      @Dochirin It is called a “heating mantle”

    • Dochirin February 20, 2011 at 4:39 am

      @ytmachx Thanks!

    • TheBubaSqua February 21, 2011 at 6:19 am

      Where do you buy your glassware?

    • ytmachx February 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

      @TheBubaSqua Ebay

    • pbsells March 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

      You have a thermometer, a plug and the distill head, what is the fouth one on the far left side and what does it do? thank for the reply in advance.

    • ytmachx March 10, 2011 at 8:46 am

      @pbsells The 4th position is the addition funnel which drips in/adds alcohol at the rate of distillation.

    • scienceman64 March 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      If your clever enough you can make a fractional distillation setup that will yield 95% ethanol from cheap parts

    • polylingue May 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      Are you the Doc from Back to the Future?

    • ytmachx May 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm

      @polylingue I’m not quite crazy enough, but I’m getting there.

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