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Thiele tube

Thiele tube - Chemistry Forum

Thiele tube - Chemistry Forum. Discuss chemical reactions, chemistry.

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Old 01-06-2004, 04:09 PM
Allan Adler
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Default Thiele tube

Thanks for the historical comments, including references to Thiele's paper.
I'll see if I can find it.

Regarding a theoretical analysis of why it works, I have only the following
intuitions, based only on looking at a picture of one:
(1) The Thiele tube consists, essentially, of a test tube with a side arm
connected (A) near the bottom and (B) near the top of the test tube.
(2) The side arm is somewhat thinner than the test tube.
(3) Liquid in the side arm is heated more quickly than liquid in the test tube.
(4) The hotter liquid is a little lighter and the cooler liquid tends to be
found in the test tube between (A) and (B). Since the cooler liquid is
heavier (i.e. denser), it moves downward and therefore pulls the hotter
liquid at (B) down.
(5) This sets in motion convection currents which flow upwards through the
side arm and downwards from (B) to (A). Thus, the liquid moves around
the loop and its motion and heat is more evenly distributed in the loop.
(6) By way of contrast, if one merely heated a test tube, there would be
a temperature gradient from the bottom of the tube, where the heat is
applied, to the top of the tube.
(7) In more detail, between the bottom of the Thiele tube and the height of
(A), there will be a temperature gradient, and between the height of (B)
and the top of the Thiele tube, there will be a temperature gradient, but
between (A) and (B) the gradient should be very slight once circulation
sets in.

Assuming that is correct, the next questions are:
(a) how does one estimate the temperature gradient?
(b) at what rate does the liquid circulate around the loop?
(c) what is the rate at which the "equilibrium" in (7) achieved?

Allan Adler
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