The Reactor D experiments are intended to quantify aspects of pyrolysis gas production independent of combusion. The reactor has been fitted with a vent tube so pyrolysis gas can be observed. However, pyrolysis is a complex mixture which is beyond this amateur scientist’s capability to analyze component-by-component. Instead, two-stage crude separation will be attempted. The reactor has proven difficult to seal for creating positive pressure - the paint can lid leaks, the vent tube fittings leak, and the electrical wire entrance leaks. Therefore, the system will be operated at negative pressure, created by a small aquarium pump.
The first stage of separation will be a “cold finger” a small glass jar will be set in an ice bath. The vent tube will enter the jar on one side and be roughly separated from the other side with the outlet tubing by accordion-folded aluminum foil. The foil barrier, it is hoped, will force the gas to take a longer flow path and will create some additional heat transfer area and condensation surface area.
The second stage of separation will be a plastic container loosely filled with cotton batting (salvaged from an abandoned box-spring). The inlet tube is attached to one side of the container, and the outlet tube is attached to the opposite side.
The air pump, which is designed with only a controlled outlet, is enclosed in a third container. The inlet to this container serves as the suction port, and the exhaust is directed to the environment.
Reactor D with the pyrolysis gas separation chain
The cold finger with its foil baffle (but not the lid or associated tubing), and the cotton filter, with its associated tubing will be weighed before and after each test so net mass capture can be calculated. Captured masses will be compared with the mass loss of the pyrolysis sample. Although the air pump itself is not intended as a capture stage, the air pump will be wrapped with filter fabric (old t-shirt cloth) and weighed before and after each test to check for filter stage leakage.