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I've recently become interested in short-path distillation and have found that most kits are in the thousands of dollars. So I thought that I would compile the labware myself.

I understand the theory behind short path distillation, but do not know the actual names of the components. I do know I will be using a digital hotplate and labware grade pyrex labware.

So what is the (cheapest) "shopping list" needed to compile and assemble all the labware necessary to construct a short-path distillation apparatus?

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Of course the answer depends a bit on the quantity to distill and the conditions (temperature and vacuum applied, difference in the boiling points of the components to separate).

There are about palm size short-path distillation heads, which may be connected easily directly to your round bottom flask and receivers like the following example:

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(source)

At chemglass.com, this device (CG-1239) is listed for USS 178.95 and allows you to mount as usual thermometer, water-in and -out for the condenser, and the vacuum by an oil pump. The efficiency of separation may be increased by mounting a vigreux column below the head, of course, which are available in different (shortened) lengths, too. There are "jacketed versions" (e.g., CG-1240) which are more suitable if the head temperature to reach is quite elevated (say, 150 $^\circ\mathrm{C}$) already while applying vacuum, at a bit more elevated price tag, too.

Of course, the advantage of the Kugelrohr shortpath's design is that you may moderate the heat gradient better, because the bulb outside the oven may be cooled with a bath of acetone / dry ice, and the rotation reducing sudden evaporation. The one by Buchi B-585 is more suitable for smaller quantities, while the ones by Aldrich obviously allow distillations out of a 250 mL flask, which truly are both considerably more expensive. (The larger Aldrich ovens require more bench place, too.)

Do not forget that there are e-bay-like companies specialized in selling used but still working lab equipment, too, e.g. Richmond, LabX to mention two.

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