Definition of Solvent Extraction
Having a clear understanding of what, exactly, solvent extraction entails is necessary for comprehending the solvent extraction process. Solvent extraction is a technique used to isolate specific compounds by employing a solvent (a substance that other substances will dissolve in). In extraction processes, this solvent is often an organic product- one that contains a carbon-carbon backbone. The solvent is paired with an aqueous solution such as water. After the extraction, the substance being extracted will be found in whichever liquid it is most soluble in (the organic solvent if it is nonpolar, or the aqueous solution if it is polar).
The Solvent Extraction Process
The solvent extraction process includes several steps. While these steps may differ depending on what the solvent extraction process is being used for, this blog post will outline the basic format that many extractions follow. If you are interested in learning more about this solvent extraction process, read on!
- Add Solutions to Separatory Funnel: The first step in the solvent extraction process is to add the mixture containing the desired compound into a glass separatory funnel along with water and the organic solvent. Then, the cap will be placed on the funnel, and it will be inverted while holding the cap in place.
- Vent and Shake: The next step in the solvent extraction process is to open the funnel’s stopcock to release pressure, then close it and shake the funnel to thoroughly mix all components. This vent and shake process should be repeated a few times.
- Extract Each Layer: The separatory funnel will be placed into a ring stand. The two layers- one aqueous, one organic- should be present. Each layer should be drained into a separate beaker by opening the stopcock. The liquids’ densities can be used to determine which layer is which (the denser one will be on the bottom), and their polarities may be used to ascertain where the desired compound is. It is easy to become confused and make an error during this part of the solvent extraction process, so if in doubt, do not immediately discard either layer of the solution!
- Repeat for Best Results: Finally, to obtain the highest yield of desired product, this solvent extraction process should be repeated several times by pouring the solution with the desired compound back into the separatory funnel and carrying out another extraction.
Searching for Solvents?
Then you’re in luck! Here at Extraction Grade Solvents, we provide several professional solvents that will greatly aid during the solvent extraction process. Plus, if you have any inquiries, our team of professional chemists will be happy to answer them. Please contact us by clicking the link here or calling 800-563-1305 today!