Have you ever wondered about how to make essential oils? Let us explain that Essential Oils are not made, but instead, they are extracted from plant materials. Extractions are used to obtain a plant’s active botanical constituents that function as its “life force.” They are essentially the liquefied version of a plant, and they effectively allow its beneficial compounds to reach the bloodstream faster than they would by simply consuming the plant.
A herbal extract is produced when a botanical material is introduced to a solvent in which some of the plant material components dissolve. Ultimately, the solvent becomes infused with the botanical materials that it has pulled from the source plant, and this is what is referred to as the “extract.” The solution that remains at the end of the process can be liquid, or the liquid can be removed to turn the remnants of the botanical into a solid. The solvents can act as preservatives or as agents that help plant cells to break down and release their contents.
Steam Distillation is the most popular method used to extract and isolate essential oils from plants for use in natural products. This happens when the steam vaporizes the plant material’s volatile compounds, which eventually go through a condensation and collection process.
STEAM DISTILLATION PROCESS
A large container called a Still, which is usually made of stainless steel, containing the plant material has steam added to it.
Through an inlet, steam is injected through the plant material containing the desired oils, releasing the plant’s aromatic molecules and turning them into vapor.
The vaporized plant compounds travel to the condensation flask or the Condenser. Here, two separate pipes make it possible for hot water to exit and for cold water to enter the Condenser. This makes the vapor cool back into liquid form.
The aromatic liquid by-product drops from the Condenser and collects inside a receptacle underneath it, which is called a Separator. Because water and oil do not mix, the essential oil floats on top of the water. From here, it is siphoned off. (Some essential oils are heavier than water, such as clove essential oil, so they are found at the bottom of the Separator.)
This method employs food grade solvents like hexane and ethanol to isolate essential oils from plant material. It is best suited for plant materials that yield low amounts of essential oil, that are largely resinous, or that are delicate aromatics unable to withstand the pressure and distress of steam distillation. This method also produces a finer fragrance than any type of distillation method.
Through this process, the non-volatile plant material such as waxes and pigments, are also extracted and sometimes removed through other processes.
Once the plant material has been treated with the solvent, it produces a waxy aromatic compound called a "concrete." When this concrete substance is mixed with alcohol, the oil particles are released. The aforementioned chemicals used in the process then remain in the oil and the oil is used in perfumes by the perfume industry or for aromatherapy purposes.
Why Transformer Oil Filtration Is Required
Transformer is one of the main asset in the electrical power industry which needs to be maintained for guaranteed uninterrupted power transmission in order to get assured revenue benefits. Transformer oils are important for the functional transformers and are the dielectric substance that helps in maintaining their temperature. Transformer oils are vital for the proper running and functioning of the transformers.
Transformers require filtered and dried oil. During its usage, the insulating oil absorbs moisture and gets polluted by sopping fibers, dirty particles, aging products, and soot. Even unused oil is not clean enough as it may have absorbed moisture from the air or may have got polluted in the barrel it was stored in. The efficiency of the oil as an insulating material is highly reduced as the moisture level increases. Hence, transformer oil filtering is an important process which eliminates solid particles, dissolved gasses, and dissolved water. The electrical properties of the oil can be enhanced by filtering, dehydration, and degassing. Oil Filtering keeps the transformer in good condition and increases its life.
The increasing rating requirements of modern transformers and electrical apparatus results in greater electrical stress in insulating material and fluids. In order to handle these greater stresses, oils are required to have better dielectric strength, and lower residual water content must be maintained. The timely and proper treatment of these insulating fluids will result in the improvement of the properties of the entire insulating system of power transformers. The principal functions of the insulating fluid are to serve as a dielectric material and an effective coolant. To perform these functions, the insulating fluid must have specific necessary qualities at the time of initial impregnation and filling at the factory which must be maintained at the same quality level in field operation if optimum performance is to be assured.
Almost 75 percent of the transformer failures happen due to contaminated and deteriorated oil. It is important to filter the transformer oil. Regular maintenance is of utmost significance as it is a great financial burden to replace or repair the transformer. Ignoring transformer oil filtering can lead to:
Overheating, which reduces electrical efficiency as well as the life of the transformer
Decrease in insulating strength of the transformer oil, and more