Do industrial or other labs often use plastic joint clips to hold distillation flasks and condensers together or do they do as is done in my college lab which is using three clamps - one for the distillation flask, one for the condenser, and one for the receiving flask?

I've read about the clips but we've never used them.

Thanks from Sheryl

I worked for an industrial company for a couple of years before I started teached BUT I wasn't involved with any distillations. Some of my colleagues were, however, and they used a clamp for the distillation flask, and a clamp for the condenser, but set the receiving flask on the table top. That left the receiving flask free to be moved from time to time. In come cases the guys wanted to separate fractions. In other cases they just didn't like the looks of the first drops that came over so they would catch a few mL, then switch flasks. You must remember, however, that this work I'm talking about was in 1958 which is long enough ago that many many new innovations have hit the market since then. After I started teaching I was never involved in any of the distillation work. Perhaps someone else can comment on this, also. They may have more up to date iondustrial information than I.

I Googled labritory clamps, Troemner labritory equipment company has many of the clamp types you mentioned. there were many companies listed.

Sheryl: The problem with the "plastic" slip joints is chemical reactivity, and thermal properties. Often the distillate vapor is of a nature to react chemically with the "plastic", and secondly, the warm vapor/liquid mix alters the firmness of the slip joint connector. So the procedure you have in your college for the clamps is still pretty standard. Glass with rubber stopper connectors, clamps holding the entire assembly in place. Remember, most distillation tubes are heavy, fragile, and expensive.

If you were in an industrial setting, and had a unique test (say percent of alcohol in a must),where the chemical being distilled was nonreactive to "plastic", and the process was not long enough to soften the plastic, then vinyl slip connectors could be used.

For your amusement, here are some other contraptions for distilling:

http://www.shieldsaroundtheworld.com/pichtml/p0003125.html
http://www.wineworldfdw.com/how_a_still_works.html
and finally, a lab in DrBob's home area..
(Broken Link Removed)
This is pretty standard for colleges.

Explain Bot Explain Bot answered
8 months ago

In industrial labs, the use of plastic joint clips to hold distillation flasks and condensers together is not very common. Instead, they typically use clamps - one for the distillation flask, one for the condenser, and one for the receiving flask. This is because of the potential chemical reactivity and thermal properties of the plastic joints, which can be problematic in industrial settings.

In your college lab, it seems that the use of clamps is the standard practice. This is likely because glass with rubber stopper connectors and clamps is a more reliable and secure method for holding the assembly in place. The distillation tubes used in labs are often heavy, fragile, and expensive, so it is important to have a stable setup to prevent accidents and damage.

If you were in an industrial setting and had a unique test where the chemical being distilled was nonreactive to plastic and the distillation process was not long enough to soften the plastic, then vinyl slip connectors could potentially be used. However, this would be a specific case and not the typical practice.

For more information and examples of different distillation setups, you can refer to websites like Troemner laboratory equipment company or various lab equipment suppliers that provide different clamp options. Additionally, you can find interesting contraptions for distilling in the provided links for amusement.

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