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Rotary evaporator

Commonly known as a rotavap, this machine can purify cannabis concentrates. Using rotation and gentle heat, a rotary evaporator can remove contaminants or further concentrate desired cannabinoids. Rotavaps are frequently used to improve the winterization process. 

“If you want to make a truly high-quality distillate, you need to invest in a good rotavap.” 

What is a rotary evaporator?

A rotary evaporator, also called a rotavap, is a machine that separates residual solvents from cannabis concentrates. Through rotation—which acts as a type of filtration—and gentle warming, a rotavap can either remove unwanted contaminants, or isolate a desired cannabinoid. 

There are seven main components to a rotavap:

  1. An evaporation flask or vial, which holds the sample material
  2. A motor that rotates the flask or vial
  3. A vacuum-sealed vapor pathway, which draws vapor off the sample
  4. A vacuum system, which significantly reduces pressure in the evaporator
  5. A heated fluid bath (usually water), which gently warms the sample
  6. A condenser or “cold finger,” which can be filled with dry ice or other coolants to make vapor recondense
  7. Another flask to collect condensed vapor after distillation

In the cannabis industry, rotavaps are commonly used during the winterization process, to purge waxes and lipids from a cannabis extract at a low temperature. Beyond winterization, rotavaps have other applications: A rotavap can turn raw cannabis flower into high-grade THCA isolate diamonds, and if calibrated differently, a rotavap can be used to make oils and tinctures.