The reflux still is a piece of equipment invented as a distillation tool. It still was developed in the late 19th century as an upgrade of the pot still that had been used for centuries. Reflux stills are used in the manufacture of petroleum and chemical products. Not only are reflux stills used by oil, chemical and gas companies, but they can also be used to produce many distilled beverages such as Vodka.
Reflux Still Characteristics
A reflux still has an internal column with trays attached for the process to flow over and through. In the oil, gas and chemical industry--in which a reflux still is commonly used, the words "process" and "service" stand for any liquid or gas that flows through or inside of an object, whether it is a still, a pipe or a channel of any sort. A reflux still is an enabler of the reflux cycle, during which a product is converted to vapors and liquids and enriched and repeatedly re-distilled.
How It Works
A boiler creates distillate vapors. These are then allowed to rise up through the column in the reflux still. At the top of this column, the vapors are condensed. The condensed vapors now run back down the column as a liquid; as they come back down, they pass through other rising vapors. These rising vapors enrich this condensed liquid. Once the condensed liquids reach a lower level in the column, they then become hot enough to boil again. This creates more vapors and the process continues. Benefits Reflux stills conserve energy when compared to the older pot still method. They also make for a much stronger distillation. Because of the reflux flow, the product becomes much purer. Engineers are now able to design reflux stills with specified levels of purity and a continuous distillate flow.