What Is Oil Extraction?
Oils are fatty, greasy chemical substances that are nonpolar in nature. Oils are also hydrophobic, which means that they do not dissolve in water. At room temperature, oils are unsaturated and liquid. While oils are popular for their usage in edible products, they are useful to various industries and appear in several products. Oils do not come in the state that consumers see them in but are rather derived from oilseeds. Oil extraction occurs when the fatty liquid of oils is separated from oilseeds. For oil extraction to occur, oilseeds must be properly prepared, going through methods such as conditioning and dehulling. After this step, oil extraction sometimes involves mechanical extraction through products like the expeller press. Oftentimes, oil extraction also occurs through solvent use. Some common oilseeds used for oil extraction are canola oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil – although countless others can be seen on the market.
Hexane Usage in Oil Extraction
Both oil and hexane come from chemicals. Hexane, specifically, is naturally occurring and derived from crude oil. Hexane is a solvent, which means that it can extract materials from substances. Oil extraction often uses solvents, so it makes sense to begin considering hexane usage here. Hexane and oils work quite well together, which makes hexane an ideal solvent for oil extraction. Oil extraction requires fats to be soluble in a material, and hexane is a great match because it allows the oils to dissolve and separate from the original oilseed plant.
Hexane is known to be a desirable processing aid, but it also has aesthetic benefits for oil extractions. Unlike some other solvents, hexane will not alter the oil’s flavor, which is important for edible oils. Even if the oil is being used for more industrial purposes, hexane will not alter the oil’s smell or color either. Hexane can be used with various types of oils and is not restricted to one specific type. Since hexane is a food-grade solvent, it is also in the clear to be used in the process of food production. Although hexane is not the only option in oil extraction, it is certainly one of the strongest solvent choices.
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