Looking for an Extraction Solvent?
Solvents are a necessary element of the liquid-liquid extraction process. If you are wondering what features to look for in a good solvent for extraction, you’ve clicked on the right blog post! We will discuss 4 factors that any great solvent should have. Read on to discover what they are!
4 Features of a Good Solvent for Extraction
- Selective for the Desired Substances
The first factor to look for in a good solvent for extraction is the ability to dissolve the compound(s) to be extracted from the plant. Conversely, other substances that may arise from chemical reactions during the extraction process should be insoluble in the solvent. Often, polar compounds are soluble in polar solvents, and the same is true for nonpolar compounds and solvents. However, some solvents, like acetone, can dissolve both polar and nonpolar substances.
- Low Viscosity
A good solvent for extraction will have a low viscosity (resistance to flow). Water is sometimes called the “universal solvent”, but it has a viscosity of 1.0 cP, whereas several other solvents, such as acetone and methanol, have lower viscosities (0.36 cP and 0.59 cP, respectively). Thus, when trying to choose a good solvent for extraction, researching its viscosity will be beneficial.
Safety is an important feature of a good solvent for extraction because you should always utilize chemicals with the lowest potential health risks. Unfortunately, few solvents meet the goal of being both nontoxic and nonflammable- for instance, alcohols are usually nontoxic but flammable, whereas chloroform is nonflammable but toxic. This is another factor that should be researched for any potential solvent.
- Low Boiling Temperature
Finally, a good solvent for extraction will have a low boiling point so as not to risk degrading the desired compounds by heating them to a high temperature. For example, the solvent methanol has a boiling point of 148.5ºF, and the solvent toluene has a boiling point of 232ºF. Therefore, based on this factor, methanol would be a better solvent choice than toluene.
Want to Learn More?
You have now discovered 4 important features to look for in a good solvent for extraction. If you are wondering where to purchase your solvents, look no further than Extraction Grade Solvents. We offer a variety of solvents to fit a wide range of extraction needs. If you have any questions, please contact us here. We would be happy to help you!