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Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

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Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:50 am

Any suggestions as far a how to pack a column with scoria, what size to use how hard/tight should it be packed....

I have my scoria cleaned and ready to adjust to what ever recommended size would seem to be the best...

I will then pour hot water through it to see how it changes the flow rate... and what else might come out of the rock... gonna use boiling water i think


Some of my scoria was rather dense and didn't seem to be porous enough so i sorted though its to get rid of the solid rock pieces... any other suggestions here?

Hopefully Crow and or EG will have some input here... but I welcome it from anyone who has used scoria or a similar product to comment...

If anyone knows of a reference from a different forum or website that would be appreciated as well....
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Prairiepiss » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:08 pm

I am not the distiller your were looking for!
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Kapea » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:08 pm

Jeeze... Rickrolled again :lol:

Every time I follow a link over there I come back feeling dirty and violated. :roll:

Couldn't make it through one page without someone getting snotty.

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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby midcarolina » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:45 am

Kinda reminds me of a line in one of my favorite movies............" attitude reflects leadership"......... Love that movie!
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby myles » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:37 am

You can't do this with pumice because it floats but may be able to with scoria. I have seen recommendations from some of the manufacturers of loose packing, that the column be filled with water first. The packing is dropped into water and allowed to settle, then the column is drained.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Prairiepiss » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:43 am

Disclaimer. Sory I didn't add one. :lol: It did have some good info in it though. Just got to read through the fodder. :?

That's an interesting thought Myles. You could probably separate it by density using the water. So the denser stuff is at the bottom. Leaving the less dense st the top. I could see where this mite be useful? What say everyone else? Thinking outloud.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby crow » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:10 pm

Yeah I don't think you can pack this to tight, some/most stones are so porous you can blow through them so I can't see choking ever being an issue . We used large stones on the bottom graded from large to small bottom to top just in case. I now believe that was an error and next time I will mix them all in together to fill more of the void as the still seemed to run the same pretty much as it would have without the packing. EG has played around with some other combinations since but I think his opinion would be about the same as mine ;-)
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Maheel » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:55 pm

so for aussies are we just talking lava rock you use on the BBQ grill above the burners ?

wheres the go to buy it ? bunning / masters or BBQ galore etc ?
is there a brand thats good ?

i got a nice slab of 3" this might be good for after xmas...
VM / Boka / ?
Shotgun Pot head
50L electric Kegs
and associated shed filling stuff......
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby crow » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:45 pm

any soil joint will have different size grades drainage scoria big garden scoria medium and driveway scoria say 10mm stuff would be the most common sizes any garden centre will have it to
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby myles » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:48 pm

Also look for Aquarium / Koi carp, the pumice is used as a biological filter medium because it drains freely and has a large surface area. You can also get pumice pellets in every size imaginable, for a wide variety of uses, but it is more expensive.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby crow » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:59 pm

yes I have no doubt that pumice will and possibly work better but scoria is just so cheap, we used something like 20 cents worth for the 4" experiment in the new yr I will be trying coke I always thought it would work better than scoria but that's going to be a hard trick to top now
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:33 pm

Today I finished washing the scoria, I broke it up in smaller pieces nickel size or so..
when you get them that size you can blow air completely through the rock. Any dense pieces i trashed... should pack the column tomorrow. To keep the scoria in the column i got some ss expanded metal and cut a 3" circle to fit the column I supported the expanded metal, i took a ss tig rod and bent an in column v shaped snap ring. The snap ring rides on top of the ez flange and seems to be secure.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Multipleg » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:09 pm

Anyone run scoria in a 2" column?
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Prairiepiss » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:19 am

Multipleg wrote:Anyone run scoria in a 2" column?

I have not so take my thinking as you will.

Lava rock was used a long time ago when 2 " was the norm. But it was passed over when Scrubbers were found to work better. So its said? So my theory is that it works best in the larger diameter columns. 3" and up? Maybe? And like its said many places that Scrubbers aren't good in 4" it bigger. But who knows? Odin uses basalt stones with great outcome with a outdated cm column.
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Prairiepiss wrote:Give this a read through.
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... =1&t=30727

Thanks for the link, PP, I read through all 16 pages and learned a thing or twelve.

I'd love to try lava rock packing in a hybrid setup. One or two 4" bubble plates under a 20 to 30" x 4" lava section... humm... might be very nice.

Sometimes I get lucky and distill the smoothest swill ever produced by a mere mortal but I fail to keep good notes and seldom run the same configuration twice. Real shame that because when I do nail it I find it hard to replicate.


Your welcome. I would love to try a 4" two plate with 24" of 4" packed with lava rock. I think this would be a great little setup.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby myles » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:56 pm

[quote="Prairiepiss"]But who knows? Odin uses basalt stones with great outcome with a outdated cm column. [quote="Prairiepiss"]

I find it very hard to disagree with you MrP, but in this instance I would like to suggest an alternative wording. Odin's CM might be an old design and there is no way that I am going to argue about it being awkward to run. It is demanding, wants constant attention, and always needs tweaking.

I would like to suggest though that this design of column should be promoted as a very specialised tool. This has the potential to be the most efficient fractionating column available - but it is a sod to run. A good CM is not for the novice, but it does have a purpose. I don't think I would want to use one, it is too much work :smile:

I suppose it is a bit like shooting turkeys with a .
.177 HMR rifle. Yes you can do it, but it is a lot easier to use a 10 gauge shotgun
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Rockchucker » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:07 pm

myles wrote:
Prairiepiss wrote:But who knows? Odin uses basalt stones with great outcome with a outdated cm column.
Prairiepiss wrote:
I find it very hard to disagree with you MrP, but in this instance I would like to suggest an alternative wording. Odin's CM might be an old design and there is no way that I am going to argue about it being awkward to run. It is demanding, wants constant attention, and always needs tweaking.

I would like to suggest though that this design of column should be promoted as a very specialised tool. This has the potential to be the most efficient fractionating column available - but it is a sod to run. A good CM is not for the novice, but it does have a purpose. I don't think I would want to use one, it is too much work :smile:

I suppose it is a bit like shooting turkeys with a .
.177 HMR rifle. Yes you can do it, but it is a lot easier to use a 10 gauge shotgun
ok Myles first, I would rather shoot birds with my .17 hmr, beings how I can hit a quater at 200 yards consistently. Second I must agree on all other assessment of a cm.My first still was a poorly designed cm as so many build, yet I produced very good drop with careful attention. Once I found the forums I was embarrassed that I was running this piece of junk. So it was salvaged and reincarnated into a boka slant plate. I kind of sort of miss that old beast.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Prairiepiss » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:49 pm

Myles you should know by now your preaching to the choir. I used the term outdated mainly so most everyone would know what I was referring to. I'm a cm lover.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Kapea » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:34 pm

myles wrote:I suppose it is a bit like shooting turkeys with a .
.177 HMR rifle. Yes you can do it, but it is a lot easier to use a 10 gauge shotgun

You could hunt squirrels with a 10 guage too, but there wouldn't be much pelt left

(Who hunts turkies with a 10 guage, Jesse Ventura?)
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby myles » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:43 pm

Prairiepiss wrote:Myles you should know by now your preaching to the choir. I used the term outdated mainly so most everyone would know what I was referring to. I'm a cm lover.

:lol: :lol:
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby midcarolina » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:02 am

I love how my unorthodox version of a CM runs.................Don't know why.... but I don't have to do all the fiddling and adjusting others complain about............

obviously it's one of those got lucky kinda things.............. :grin:
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby DrWho » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:37 am

Multipleg wrote:Anyone run scoria in a 2" column?


Yes, I run lava rock in a 54mm X 1220MM column. Used the stuff that is all black, the red is iron oxide which I didn't want. Hit it with a hammer and screen graded it from 8mm to 11mm in size. Ended up making cones from stainless steel mesh for the bottom retainer.

See the SPP thread in the reflux column board here for pictures. Need a mesh retainer as a hold down at the top as this stuff is light. Some pieces actually float on water.

The bottom cones are to prevent early flooding. Can also place larger rocks at the bottom and then progress to the smaller stuff for the same affect. Oh, and this stuff beats scrubbers, even etched, all the way.

???
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby DrWho » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:59 am

Here are some pictures of the lava rock I am using.

Copper_884.JPG


And a single piece close up. IIRC, this is the piece in the lower right corner of the above picture. It shows just how porous this stuff is.

Copper_885.JPG


And the link to the thread that shows the lower mesh cones and retaining mesh screens:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=211&start=20

???
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Multipleg » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:00 pm

Where to buy? I've tried several garden supply places now. They only seem to carry the larger red scoria.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:04 pm

I am using red with no issues... check for lava rock for bbq grills ... i saw it in walmart the other day... but alas no walmarts for you AU peeps...
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby timmyjane » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:13 pm

Is the consensus that lava rock is superior to scrubbers as related to speed and output abv?
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:25 pm

ITs cheap and widely available.. russians are using it for neutrals and vodka's so i hear
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby timmyjane » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:28 pm

But if you already are stocked up on scrubbers is there any reason to change?
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:31 pm

Guess it depends on if you producing what you want and if your happy with the way scrubbies work for you... i currently am running scoria and copper... alternating 3" layers just to see if it will work...

and so far it has.. in my 3" column

FS

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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby rossco » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:11 pm

I was wondering if anyone has used a mesh enclosure with this stuff. I was thinking about 1mm stainless mesh, circular top and bottom with a single piece of mesh wired to the ends to form a cylinder to hold the scoria. My reason is that I can only fit 3100mm of 4" for the packed section of my mongrel bubbler hybrid thingie under the roof. I simply don't have the length to have a scrubber either end to hold the stones in place.

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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby FullySilenced » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:15 pm

I acutally hold mine in the 3" column with ss wire/expanded metal cut in a circle larger than the column then i hand snip a single cut just past the center line. I then fold the snipped edges over themselves and it forms an expanding cone that i push cone up into the bottom of the column. It expands out and holds onto the sides if you wanted to you could put a homemade snap ring under it for additional support...

I then load my scoria or whatever from the top. You could make a second cone for the top if you so desired.

I have seen a photo of someone using ss welded screen with 1/4 or 1/2" openings... not sure where it was but was on MD.

hope this gives you a bit of help idea wise...

FS
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby jake_leg » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:47 pm

timmyjane wrote:Is the consensus that lava rock is superior to scrubbers as related to speed and output abv?


If anyone was going to do a comparison it would be good to use a standard product like graded pumice aggregate.

One potential problem with it is that it is clearly not going to drain very well - lots of that surface area so useful for mass transfer is in little internal holes and crevices. So it will likely need to be cleaned or replaced between uses. It may also gradually crush or compact down.

This seemed to be the consensus about Perlite anyway, which is also a kind of puffed glassy stuff. It used as a soil additive as an absorbent which tells you something.

http://www.artisan-distiller.net/phpBB3 ... =21&t=3450
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Bushman » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:23 am

A lot of the questions being asked have been tested and answered on that thread PP posted from HD. I understand people's feelings and past history but one thing I do like about this forum is links are not censored and that particular link has a lot of valuable info that was tested and done by Mash Rookie. He has a license to build commercial stills thus has made and tested a lot of different products.

Just saying :confusion-shrug:
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby jake_leg » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:30 am

No disrespect to Mash Rookie but it's hardly a new idea. Pumice was first used as column packing over 150 years ago, and was superseded in commercial use more than 100 years ago by packings whose internal surfaces allow drainage. The fact that pumice, like carbon, adsorbs crap that you'd rather leave in the boiler is the reason they are great for filtering in a packed bed. Not to say it doesn't work in a column, but there are clearly good reasons why it fell out of use.

http://www.nt.ntnu.no/users/skoge/prost ... acking.pdf

Glass balls were used as random packing as early as the 1820’s. By the 1850’s pumice stone or pieces of coke were used as random packing. In the 1880’s Ilges started using ceramic balls as random packing in azeotropic distillation towers. By the start of the 1900’s hollow ceramic and metal balls were used as random packing. Raschig realized the importance of having the internal surface area of the random packing take part in mass transfer and in 1914 patented the use of thin-walled metal cylinders as random packing. The 1950’s and 60’s saw the introduction of metal PALL rings...
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby Bushman » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:08 am

I agree Jake Leg I was just pointing out that that thread had some of the answers people were seeking through Mash Rookies testing and others that followed after his experiments. Mostly he did not have long term results but got impressive numbers at a relatively inexpensive material in comparison to others.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby DrWho » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:53 am

timmyjane wrote:But if you already are stocked up on scrubbers is there any reason to change?


I did, and won't go back to scrubbers. Even etched scrubbers which is what they were. Black lava rock, also called scoria. Break it up with a hammer, sieve grade it for size, try it out. Be sure to use cone shaped retainers at the bottom.

The other side of the coin, is that it is so inexpensive, even if it didn't work :laughing-rolling:, you're out very little.

???

edited to fix the smilie...
Last edited by DrWho on Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby DrWho » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:58 am

Just a quick note that pumice and scoria are two different things. Both a lava rock, but not the same type of lava rock. I would only use (and do) the black lava rock which would be scoria.

8-)

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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby emptyglass » Wed May 01, 2013 10:51 pm

crow wrote:Yeah I don't think you can pack this to tight, some/most stones are so porous you can blow through them so I can't see choking ever being an issue . We used large stones on the bottom graded from large to small bottom to top just in case. I now believe that was an error and next time I will mix them all in together to fill more of the void as the still seemed to run the same pretty much as it would have without the packing. EG has played around with some other combinations since but I think his opinion would be about the same as mine ;-)


Sorry FS, I clean missed this one.
I tried varying depths and different numbers of plates after the initial experiments with crow. It mattered little as to how they were put in, but I think you've found, the ability of this medium to polish the spirit is sensational.
If there was another packing that worked as well for the price, I'd go "he" (maybe pummice could). For the pittantce it costs, amazing performance. And I found you didn't need a lot to make a big difference.

I figure theres iron in the red variety, but theres something in the black stuff that makes it black. I'm not a rockhound, so I cant say if its better or worse. I know its gotta be more natural than some of the man made stuff.

I cant say how well it works in a 2" column, but I'm sure it would work well. 2" copper here is about $30 -$40/m for new stuff, copper structured packing to fill that would be about $50 -$90 depending on supplier, scoria would be about $0.15.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby jake_leg » Thu May 02, 2013 2:18 am

Definitely cheap. My guess is that black scoria is probably preferable. It's slightly basic so it might scrub out a few organic acids that might otherwise come to form esters. Scoria is mostly silicates like glass.
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Re: Scoria / Lava Rock Packing

Postby crow » Thu May 02, 2013 1:41 pm

timmyjane wrote:But if you already are stocked up on scrubbers is there any reason to change?

It is my understanding that people have been having problems with strata such as stainless scrubbers collapsing in diameters greater than 3" reducing their efficiency . It is for this reason more so than the excessively low cost that we began to play with scoria in bubblers, the fact that the results were better then ones obtained from stainless steel scrubbers and SSP was a welcomed surprise. I still believe the result from coke will be even better ;-)
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