Short Path Distillation of Cannabinoids
Short path distillation (molecular distillation) and wiped film distillation are two thermal separation processes for heat sensitive crude material. For fixed clearance wipers, the wiped film evaporator is also referred to as a thin film evaporator. The short residence time (less than 10 seconds) and low evaporation temperature on the Short Path Distillation Plant VKL 70-5 allows for minimal thermal stress to the distilled cannabis concentrates. Typical applications for short path distillation are high molecular weight compounds such as BHO and CO2 oil cannabis concentrates.
The most important requirement for all cannabis distillation processes is the boiling point difference of the cannabinoids that need to be separated from the terpenes, lipids, solvents and any other impurities.
With short path distillation and wiped film distillation, a decrease of boiling temperature is obtained by reducing the operating pressure. It is a continuous process with very short residence time.
In other distillation methods such as circulation, falling film and column distillation the cannabis concentrate would be damaged from the long residence times and high temperatures that must be applied. With the VKL 70-5 the temperatures can be used down to 0.001 mbar as compared with conventional wiped film evaporators which can be used down to approximately 1 mbar.
In a wiped film evaporator and short path evaporator, the cannabis concentrate is heated up on the internal surface of a heated tube also referred to as the evaporation chamber. During this process a special wiper rotates inside the evaporation chamber, generating a very thin and turbulent film on the heated surface of the evaporator.
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