Friday, 5 April 2013

Soxhlet apparatus: Extracting the insoluble impurity

Have you ever been to a scientific laboratory and seen the exotic equipment in the laboratories looking like the articles of embellishments? If you are not a person dealing with the science or scientific experiments, the talk matters little to you. But for a scientist or a person dealing with scientific laboratory would respect the value they have in bringing about astounding miracles in the field of science and technology. Soxhlet apparatus is equipment in the scientific laboratory that is used to extract the insoluble impurity from the solvents. It was invented in 1879 by Franz Von Soxhlet and the name soxhlet apparatus honors the inventor. Originally it was designed to extract lipids from solid material but with the passage to time its use has taken different dimensions.
Soxhlet apparatus made of glass material and is a combination of thimble made from filter paper, flask, chamber, condenser etc and through the support of heating it makes the distillation process possible. When a desired compound has a limited solubility in a solvent the soxhlet apparatus is used. By heating the solvent it is vaporized which travels up a distillation arm and moves into the chamber and through the use of condenser it is condensed here.
Soxhlet apparatus is used for a particular purpose and therefore its use in the laboratory is not as frequent as the other equipment like test tubes, pipettes etc. But no equipment can replace its use and as it is the combination of different parts it needs to be handled with care.

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