Distilling Oil

Spent the morning and most of the afternoon distilling essential oils with the help of John Gates, a water science researcher in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Using a sample of many plants from my backyard (pine needles, mint, lavender, green onions, grass), the material was boiled in water, condensed into an oil/water mixture, and separated using a centrifuge. From 500ml of material we extracted about 100ul of oil!

Distilling the vaporized water/oil mixture and separating in the centrifuge

The resulting oil/water mixture in a centrifuge tube (left) and the extracted oil (right)

Smell Infusion Tests

Testing various papers for holding essential oil scents for a smell-based adventure game; each paper sample received 2 large drops of the oil and were then held in a plastic bag overnight to infuse. Smell was subjectively tested 24 hours and 5 days later.

Smell is rated 0-5, where 0 = virtually no smell and 5 = overwhelming.

Mat board11
Thin chipboard30
Thick bristol board10/1
Thick Stonehenge (?)11
Regular Stonehenge (?)10
German Etch (?)30
Blotter paper21
Canson Mi-Tientes3-41/2

Smell And Vibration Tests

Two-channel vibration motor test – equal-power panning (used in audio) applied to two vibration motors and controlled by a joystick

Testing different papers for asborbing essential oils for a smell-based videogame (handmade paper worked the best, bristol board the worst)

Absorbing scents overnight in a plastic bag

Testing a smell-release valve using a very small servo motor, a round valve with soft foam gasket, and controlled by an Arduino