The Importance of Vapor Monitors in Short-Path Distillation

Wednesday October 31 2018

Short-path distillation is one of the primary methods used to separate the constituent parts of a solution based on their differing thermodynamic properties. The solution is housed in a flask at low pressure and selectively heated to encourage separation. These vapors travel a short distance through extraction feeds that concentrate distinct compounds based on distillation temperature, making it possible to achieve distillate purity levels of up to 99%.

Selectively separating the compartments of a fluid through short-path distillation requires a robust understanding of the thermomechanical properties of the compounds involved. Measuring vapor temperatures in real-time using a vapor monitor offers the most reliable and quantitative method for establishing reproducible short-path distillation experiment parameters. It is also possible to assess performance levels by the distillate’s colorimetric properties, but vapor monitoring is a more qualitative technique.


vapour monitor short-path distillation

Vapor Monitors in a Short-Path Array

A vapor monitor is attached to the primary solution flask in a short-path distillation array via a type J thermocouple input jack. The iron—constantan junction of the thermocouple acquires the temperature values of vapors in the flask which are then converted into an electrical value that is displayed in real-time. This is one of the most critical aspects of short-path distillation, as vapor temperature is a fundamental factor in extraction success.

Glas-Col’s vapor monitor is a compact instrument with a user-friendly LED display. It features an adjustable grid bracket for integration into bespoke distillation packages, yet the entire component weighs just 2lbs. This is ideal for prominently mounting the vapor monitor at eye-level or above.

The digital functionalities of the vapor monitor include setpoint inputs for low or high temperatures across a broad temperature span.

Our vapor monitor is also equipped with an audible alarm to support fine-tuning of the experiment conditions and improve process automation. This is a critical functionality to ensure experiments are carried out safely, reliably, and under reproducible conditions.

Vapor Monitors from Glas-Col

Glas-Col specializes in the development and supply of advanced process monitoring equipment for a range of applications. We offer a comprehensive catalog of solutions for short-path distillation including a TM stir mantle, heating tops, sensors, splash guards, temperature controls, and a high-sensitivity vapor monitor.

If you would like any more information about this area, read our previous blog post: The Benefits of Short-Path Distillation. Or, contact us you would like any more information about our vapor monitors.