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Steam distillation diagram and method.

Author: W Alberts, South Africa 2013

Please find the diagram as promised with instructions.

Method: 1. You need to familiarize yourself with the various parts of the unit, such as: Pot the part where the plant material goes in. Grid with handles to lift out hot plant material after distillation The steam chamber where water is heated to become steam Condenser the tube like part where the steam is cooled down to water again.

Steam distillation diagram and method. Author: W Alberts, South Africa 2013
Stand the ring structure that holds the glass separator flask Funnel goes on top of separator flask and just under the condenser opening Glass separator flask to capture distilled water and oil Gas burner Water valve Quick couplings the brass couplings to connect the various hoses You need to fit your own hosepipe and drainpipe if you need longer ones. Assemble the unit and make sure all fittings are secure and the bottom drain at the steam chamber is closed. Connect water inlet hose to cold water hosepipe and open tap to fill the steam chamber. The valve should be in the closed position. After a while the valve can be opened to see if the water can flow through the condenser, coming in via the short pipe connected to the bottom opening of the condenser. The water will run through the condenser and come out via the top opening that is connected to the drain pipe. Close the valve again after this check so that no water runs through the condenser. The tap can be left open. If the water pressure is very high, the tap can be opened only a little bit. Fill the pot with plant material to just below the top opening that goes to the Condenser. Press it firmly down to get rid of air pockets. Put on the lid and make sure it is centre. Fasten the bolts evenly until tight. Do not over tighten, just very firm. Connect the gas bottle. Open the gas and light the burner. Check the gas until the fire burns nice and blue. The fire need to heat the water in the chamber to make steam. Fit the glass separator into the ring stand and put a funnel in at the top and a glass jar underneath. Adjust the level until the funnel top is just under the condenser opening. Take care not to break the glass. Make sure the glass tap at the bottom is closed. The steam in the chamber will enter the pot at the bottom and you can feel on the outside of the pot how it heats up. Allow the steam to go through the plant material where it will break up the oil glands and transport the oil particles on the steam upwards. This mixture of steam and oil will enter the condenser. Leave it to go right through the condenser until a little bit of steam escapes at the mouth of the condenser. At this stage the water valve on the unit can be opened to allow cold water to flow through the condenser. The steam inside the condenser will turn to water that will flow out into the funnel and collect in the separator flask. You will note that the water is milky and this is due to oil mixed in it. You will also note small droplets of oil falling into the water and then collecting in a thin film on top of the water. Allow the flask to fill up to about three quarters way. Put and empty glass jar underneath and open the glass tap slowly by rotating it a little bit. Let the bottom water out to about one quarter and close the tap. This water that is collected in the jar is hydrolat, which can be used for various things as it contains some essential oil aroma. Let the water out every time as you see the flask fills up. You will see the small oil layer on top will become more as you continue. Keep distillation on for 45 minutes to 1 hour for Geranium and 30-45 minutes for Lemon grass. You can also check the small oil droplets in the water when it goes down, it is time to stop. Close the gas. Close the tap and then take out the flask and keep it in the ring holder. Put the ring stand on a table.Open the glass tap over the jar and let out excess water. You will sse the oil layer clearly on top. Make sure it does not run out at the bottom. Rather leave a little drop of water before the oil reaches the bottom. Now take a small clean marked bottle and let the oil flow into it. Close the bottle tight. Open the top of the pot and pull out the spent material that can be used for compost. Repeat the process with the same material.

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Steam distillation diagram and method. Author: W Alberts, South Africa 2013
21. If you are changing to another crop .The bottom drain need to be opened to take out the old water and then the pot can also be washed with liquid soap and lots of water, You must fill the chamber with clean water and first steam clean the pot by running it empty for a while without cooling water so that the steam can clean it and the condenser.. 22. I hope you will be able to get oil out. It is a slow process and need some time to master.