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Author: Subject: Sulaiman's "SM Challenge: Water Still"
Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 05:48
Sulaiman's "SM Challenge: Water Still"


One of my most expensive chemicals is distilled water, due to volume.
Based on the thread 'SM Challenge - any thoughts ?' in whisper, which is not available to all,and the fact that I actually want a cheap source of distilled water, I offer this challenge:

Publish a YouTube video showing the design and operation of a water still.

To make my life easier publish the video with "SM Challenge: Water Still" in the title.

The design (not the video production) that I like best, published before 4th July 2018, will win the amazing prize of;
. about 1g of gold recovered by me from scrap, with no purity guarantee,
. my spare SM logo badge, only slightly damaged,
. some random stuff
. possibly a 'disguise' for the still that you actually want to operate
. your own working water still with a limited supply of distilled water
. my gratitude

My judgement is quite capricious, but I guess I'd go for something like;
. +1 point per ml/hour, 200 max.
. -1 point per GBP total cost of parts, -100 max.
. -1 point per square inch bench space occupied
. -1 point per ml cooling water required per ml product
. + a lot of points for safe unattended operation
. +/- a variable, unlimited, number of points, at my discretion, based on how much I 'like' the design, or not.
. +1000 points if I receive a working prototype (me, corruptible ? :P

Post a link to your YouTube video in this thread,
I will attempt to publish a full list of videos by mid July,
If there is enough interest we can discuss here,
something should be in the post by end of July.




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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 05:55


do you have access to old fluorescent tubes and a good torch? tricky but you can make an all glass condenser with them. outer jacket pvc, sealing don via high temp silicon.

best boiler is old beer keg if you can get it.
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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 06:44


I can build a water still anytime that I choose,
but I do not want to dedicate my current glassware to it,
and I want something dedicated to providing more than my current daily needs,
that sits quietly in a corner behaving itself.
Ideally my only tasks would be switching it on and changing collection vessels.

I have been tempted to buy a quartz sleeve for u.v. lamps as used by fish keepers, (multi-purpose)
as I want all-glass quality distilled water.
And I prefer to not rely on consumables such as filters/absorbents/adsorbents.

A commercial product would look good, be compact, and be efficient in the consumption of electricity and cooling water.
I just want something that works and can be constructed easily from easily available parts.

Something that the average SM member may consider building.

Maybe a universal (beer keg) to (ground joint glassware) adapter IS the ultimate choice.
I just had a quick search for a cheap used beer keg and failed,
but there may be other options for a large pot if batch runs are envisioned ?

[Edited on 29-4-2018 by Sulaiman]




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Magpie
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 09:51


Just out of curiosity, what do you pay for a gallon of DI or RO water?



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unionised
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 10:24


Even if you only use it for water you may need a license for a still.
You certainly used to in the UK, and not many things have become easier for the home chemist.
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 11:08


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
Just out of curiosity, what do you pay for a gallon of DI or RO water?


I pay <$1/gal for DI or RO water in the US. I see that this water is $13/gal in the UK. Why this extreme difference?




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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 11:15


My last purchase was 25 litres of distilled water for GBP15 incl. delivery.

My electricity costs GBP 0.15 per kWh averaged over the year.







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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 11:41


Superb Challenge Sulaiman !

Truly Open to everyone, Worldwide, Chemists or otherwise.

Might have to give the 'Candenser' a re-visit ;)




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29-4-2018 at 12:21
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 12:24


Good practical challenge.
This should get some takers.




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DavidJR
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 13:16


Interesting. I also hate paying so much for distilled water.

Any entries would however have to beat the £50 benchtop 4L batch water distillers available on eBay.
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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 14:54


Quote: Originally posted by DavidJR  
Any entries would however have to beat the £50 benchtop 4L batch water distillers available on eBay.


Boy do I feel dumb !

That will be hard to beat, 1 l/h, 750W @ £0.15/kW.h = £0.1125 per litre.
payback after 107 litres, ready made and always available.
However,
I'm not keen on the cut-out-after-boiled-dry approach,
or the use of stainless steel to condense the water.

The challenge and prize still stand if there is anyone interested,
but I suppose the ready made unit will stand as a reference.






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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 16:01


You could use a timer to have it cut out before it boils dry, if you're worried about any high-boiling volatiles which may be present in the water.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is good enough for me.
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[*] posted on 29-4-2018 at 16:18


Quote: Originally posted by DavidJR  
You could use a timer to have it cut out before it boils dry, if you're worried about any high-boiling volatiles which may be present in the water.

Better yet, attach a float valve and make it self-filling.
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[*] posted on 3-5-2018 at 22:00


Just use a jar and a fresnel lens:
No bench space used
No electricity
Runs all day long
If you bury the receiving equipment and condenser in the ground you get free cooling

I would do it myself but I have no money I can allocate to this. If anyone wants to build this system just give me the credit for the idea (and ideally the gold).

Here is a list of materials:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/5-FRESNEL-LENSES-MAGNIFIER-DIY-PROJ...

You will also need:
Tubes that can handle steam
An amber jar to hold the water
A receiving vessel


Have the tubing travel a few feet under ground, or preferable through some ground water/pond, to the receiving vessel where it will accumulate. The hardest part will be making a frame for the lenses.




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[*] posted on 4-5-2018 at 03:21
Exactly two months remaining ...


Quote: Originally posted by VSEPR_VOID  
Just use a jar and a fresnel lens:
...
The hardest part will be making a frame for the lenses.


and steering to track the sun :P

I'm in favour of a water still that uses no electricity/gas/charcoal..fuel,
Passive condensation is practical,
the evaporation part is more difficult to miniaturise.
A solar-powered water still would be nice to have for chemistry,
and it could save many lives in poorer countries, if economical and practical.

61 DAYS TO END OF CHALLENGE !

[Edited on 4-5-2018 by Sulaiman]




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[*] posted on 4-5-2018 at 03:40


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Even if you only use it for water you may need a license for a still.
You certainly used to in the UK, and not many things have become easier for the home chemist.


A quick google indicates that an ethanol still requires licensing,
but I did not come across any reference to other uses of a still.
That would mean all educational and research institutions, and amateur chemists, would need a still license ?
Any reference ?




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[*] posted on 4-5-2018 at 14:06


Quote: Originally posted by Plunkett  
Quote: Originally posted by DavidJR  
You could use a timer to have it cut out before it boils dry, if you're worried about any high-boiling volatiles which may be present in the water.

Better yet, attach a float valve and make it self-filling.


a float valve would be the best, but they are generally big and the "floater" is made out of plastic or rarely metal. it could be implemented in the beer keg system but it would be useless i think, automatic refilling would be ideal to keep space to a minimum, if you already need a big vessel just use batches





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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 09:02


Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  
Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Even if you only use it for water you may need a license for a still.
You certainly used to in the UK, and not many things have become easier for the home chemist.


A quick google indicates that an ethanol still requires licensing,
but I did not come across any reference to other uses of a still.
That would mean all educational and research institutions, and amateur chemists, would need a still license ?
Any reference ?


This is insane. Soon you will need a licence to own concentrated salt solution and any tool aside from a spork.




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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 14:28


A distillation rig works because of the Physics involved, not Law.

The possible consequences of operating a distillation apparatus clearly comes under Law.

The distillation apparatus works in any case.




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Sulaiman
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[*] posted on 4-7-2018 at 08:09
Challenge Closed


I'ts 4th July and no messages here or video on YouTube so I assume no one was interested.

I therefore declare no winner and I keep my gold :)

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[*] posted on 4-7-2018 at 08:40


I feel like any law prohibiting posession or use of a water still is a violation of basic human rights... Also, I agree, that stills operate under the laws of physics just fine, regardless of any laws of mankind. But everyone should be aware of the laws in their locale.

California Code 23032: “Still” means any apparatus capable of being used for separating alcohol, or alcoholic vapors of solutions from alcohol or alcoholic solutions or mixtures, but does not include stills or apparatus used for laboratory purposes or solely in the production of distilled water or substances other than alcoholic beverages.”

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