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Author: Subject: Failed steam distillation. Any ideas what went wrong?
Swinfi2
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 11:34
Failed steam distillation. Any ideas what went wrong?


Trying to steam distill tansy oil but nothing collects in the receiving cylinder?

I've made lavender oil using fresh picked flowers and that worked, but when I try this kind of flower (tansy) nothing collects. I see some tiny specks of oil but they never coalesce to a layer. At first I was lazy and let the cooling loop get hot, but after that failed I tried again using a fresh water supply that I drained and replaced before it got too warm but the result was the same.

20200817_202828.jpg - 3.4MB

I'm pretty new to steam distilling so I'm not too sure how it went wrong. On the second run I also covered the hot side in tinfoil. Any ideas guys?
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macckone
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 11:47


Get rid of the vigreux column or do an ethanol extraction.
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Swinfi2
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 14:05


Ahh I was just using that to raise the height so I can siphon the water back into the pot. I assumed it would just be overloaded when the heat is crank up but I'll try without next time.

I'll post an update when I've got more flowers to try it on.

Thanks for the help mac
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DraconicAcid
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 14:21


Agreed- get rid of the Vigreaux column, or all the oil will condense and drip back down into your flask.

I usually only get tiny, tiny amounts of oil in a steam distillation. I think the most I've ever gotten was 1% by mass from cloves.




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Ubya
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[*] posted on 17-8-2020 at 17:33


if you are not getting enough oil to even form a layer on the water layer, try maybe using more plant matter, crush it slightly to break the cells. If you can setup an external boiling vessel you won't have issues with trapped bubbles pushing plant matter in the condenser.


[Edited on 18-8-2020 by Ubya]





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