Filter Aide/ DE/ Silica etc

Will using silica powder/ DE over filter paper help prevent clogged filter paper (11micron) when winterizing 10:1 ethoh? My papers have been getting super gunked and are going slow as molases, taking over an hour to clear a single large buchner funnel. Looking for tips on how much to use, appication of DE etc. Ive read to use a slurry tech when applying, looking for insight on anyone who uses this IF it even will help filtrate speed, not clog paper, get dry wax layer instead of wet slurry fully clogged. Thanks! FYI need to filter about 20 gals/day of 10:1 so any tips on how to quicky do so would be great. ( yes sambo creeck is on my wishlist…eventually) for now i have 3 4L buchners and 20L buchner and funnels for them all.

DE or celite 545 (a grade of DE) will increase the surface area of the filter so it will indeed speed up the filtration. A flat filter paper only has the surface area of the paper itself but a bed of celite has this surface area multiplied by its depth.


what a good way to apply to a buchner? Pull seal on the paper, then add alcohol slurry of FA, then pour over? How would one prevent disturbing the FA layer?

I suggest only your particulate filter media be on the bottom. Whether you use celite, DE, sand, alumina, or any number of known acceptable sand filtration type media the filtration will occur at the top if the filter is constructed with fine sand like particles and if channelling and other issues are addressed (easy).

The ACTUAL filter media when you say dump a bunch of fine grit sand or other into the buchner funnel is the filtrate itself and NOT the sand. It is the layer of gunk, in other words, that provides the bulk of filtration in this method and it is about as good a method as you can get. The sand or similar small grain material serves as the anchor point(s) for the material to be filtered.

If filtrate is making it down past the sand filter type funnel it means the filter is ineffective as used. I often put a filter paper on top to avoid churning but even this in unnecessary if I am out of paper.

Now, the good news is that unlike a paper filtration media, a sand type filter can very easily have the gunk layer scraped off while filtering as it gets loaded up and slow and this will not impact the filtering except to clean the filter and improve flow. Early on in Britain the first water purification device as I recal was a porceline vase like arrangement. The queen got the first one. The water was murky and horrible in England. This device works substantially like a sand filter as well and the queen loved it (ensuring a long life for the company that gifted it to her).

It worked the same way as sand. The particulate would build up a layer of sludge from the drinkning water as it passed through the intentionally porous ceramic. The sludge layer was so effective at trapping other sludge that what dripped out the bottom was fit for the queen to drink. When the water stopped dripping, the inside of the ceramic was simply scraped and flushed in minutes returning the unit to full service.

In short when you make a sand filter out of whatever particle you choose (they are all generally fine and each can be tweaked of course) when it loads up from being such a good filter just poke a glass stirring rod into the “sand” through the gunk and give it a stir. It will unclog pretty quick. With lots just take a spatula and pull it out.