Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does anyone know what this equipment is for?

  1. Jun 8, 2016 #1

    I have found this chemistry equipment, but I cannot determine what it is for. I have a suspicion it is for measuring boiling point temperature elevation.

    I have included a drawing of how I think it should go together. It consists of a conical flask connected to a graduated boiling tube (D) (for volume); the conical flask has a two-holed bung: one aperture contains a delivery tube (B) connected to the boiling tube (there are small holes in the delivery tube within the boiling tube, and the other has a glass cylinder passing vertically upwards, which is angled at the bottom (A; this might be to do with maintaining atmospheric pressure?). The boiling tube has a bulb on the upper portion. The boiling tube is contained within a larger glass container (C). There is an aperture in the boiling tube opening into the larger container (E). The larger container has a spout at the bottom.

    So the liquid in the conical flask is heated and passes through E and condenses in the boiling tube (D). I am not sure if the delivery part, E, has to be lower, so that as the liquid condenses the delivery tube becomes submerged in the liquid. Then I am guessing the liquid that condenses in the boiling tube will at some point be hot enough to pass from the boiling tube, through aperture E into the larger container (C). Quite what is happening, I am not sure...

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    It could certainly be used to separate methanol from your brand.
  4. Jun 9, 2016 #3

    Fervent Freyja

    User Avatar
    Gold Member


    Anyhow, I thought the drawing was quite nice.
  5. Jun 9, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Would it make coffee - water in the flask, coffee grinds in the boiling tube, and cup under the spout?
    Steam should be demineralized.
  6. Jun 9, 2016 #5


    User Avatar

    I don't know what this is. Here are some ideas, based on your descriptions. First, as you know, anything except straight glass tubing adds to both cost and makes the equipment much more delicate, so nothing is done without a good reason (at least, in the mind of the designer). You appear to have drawn a hole in the side of A near the bottom. I've no explanation for that, which suggests that my other ideas are suspect. I assume A's design is intended to drip liquid down the side of the flask, so that the material at reflux is being added to very slowly and gradually. This is obviously some sort of separatory apparatus, but I do not know whether there is a reaction going on in the flask, nothing to confirm it, but nothing to contradict that idea. Anyway, some volatile is being separated and moved into D. The fact that B has "holes" at the bottom suggests it is being used submerged to bubble the evaporate through some liquid in order to collect (or react??) it. Since D is graduated, I'd assume there is some 'yield' expected. So both volume collected and temperature are used as control variables. As far as C is concerned, is it possible that there is a vacuum being pulled? I suppose that none of this necessarily has to be done under air, perhaps some gas is being introduced from A as well. The thing I like least about this is that the only temperature control, is from your heat source; no cooling is provided, in fact the C+D would tend to keep D's contents hot (with the exception of cooling due to gas flow). So, I'd further speculate that this is used well above room temperature (I'd guess at least 50°C if not double or triple that). Is it possible this has something to do with petroleum assay? I really don't know.
  7. Jun 9, 2016 #6

    Charles Link

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    It looks like a distillation apparatus and I think the thermometer belongs on the side that is being heated (the left side). You could distill anything from water to petroleum products-for some processes it may be important to control the temperature. Nowadays they have digital thermometers connected to feedback loops that can carefully control the temperature. Previously, you would simply watch the temperature on the thermometer and add the heat as necessary.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted