Monday, 3 March 2014

The utility of Soxhlet Extraction

So what is a Soxhlet apparatus? It is a laboratory equipment or apparatus that has been created for the processing of particular types of solids. The original purpose of this apparatus was to take out or extract the lipid contained in a solid material. Although that was the original inventor with regards to its capabilities, the use is not merely limited to that ability of extracting lipids or fat.

When any solid has a limited ability to dissolve in a solvent and the impurity also will not dissolve in the solvent, which is when a Soxhlet extraction apparatus maybe used. If the compound in questions can be dissolved appreciably in a solvent, then, simple filtering can take out the compound and the insoluble extract.

Complete lipid extraction possible
Generally a solid material that contains a particular compound is placed within a thimble that can be contrived from a filter paper. This is then placed into the primary chamber of the Soxhlet extractor. When heat is applied, the solvent will evaporate into a gaseous state. This gas is, then, cooled with a condenser, which is collected in a sample tube. Over a period of time, the complete lipid contained in the material is removed and the solid is rendered free from any lipid content.

The use of the Soxhlet extractor apparatus is principally used to process certain types of solids. With this device, it is possible to treat a sample for hours and days with the intent of extracting compounds of interest. This is a very useful apparatus used by the chemists in the sampling, analysis, and testing and quality control related process. These are available in a large range of sizes as well as with required accessories.
Very high quality apparatus to handle a large range of utility
Like various other glassware equipment meant for the laboratory, the Soxhlet apparatus is also made with special features.
  • The glass used in the manufacture of this instrument is designed not to crack when exposed to very high heat or when corrosive created during the extraction process. Every aspect of this apparatus is made with a narrow tolerance so that every aspect provides a high degree of reliability of repeated testing of various functions.
  • It is common when the Soxhlet apparatus is used in a repeat of experiments; the same must be washed and dried completely before reuse. This is important, so that any leftover material remaining within it could interfere with the next experiment. Most of the laboratories have their own protocol with regards to cleaning and drying of equipment to arrive at a process that allows for uniform results.
It is with a Soxhlet apparatus that a high degree of efficiency in the extraction process can be achieved, and also, makes it possible for a higher level of control over the materials being tested. When in use, at every cycle of operation, only a portion of the non volatile compound is dissolved in the compound. The advantage of this apparatus is that many portions of the solid are not processed, but a single batch is recycled to get results.

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