The chemist is going to need a source of vacuum. When distilling high boiling stuff like valuable ecstasy free base oil, a vacuum is - 15 -
applied at the nipple (tee hee!) of the vacuum adaptor so that the pressure inside the entire distillation apparatus is reduced well below the normal atmospheric pressure outside. This causes everything to boil at a much lower temperature. If high boiling oils are allowed to distill/boil at their normal temperatures and atmospheric pressure then a considerable amount of product could be lost due to scorching. The other purpose for a vacuum is for vacuum filtration, which is a very useful process and is described later on.
Any commercially available vacuum pump is perfectly fine for the underground chemist's needs; but the best kind to buy is a diaphragm pump, which is more resistant to the often-harsh chemical vapors that are sucked through it. Most vacuum pumps cost about $100-$200. However, the stronger the vacuum the better. If a chemist is looking to pull 1mm of Hg (don't ask) like the girls in the chemistry papers do then she can be looking at a turbovac that can run well over $5000.
The other vacuum option is a simple little aspirator that attaches to ones faucet or hose. This $15 device pulls a decent vacuum; however, it is not an option at all in Strike's book. Running one of these babies 10-12 hrs a day is a despicable waste of a community's water supply.
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