Principle of Soxhlet extraction and Experimental Setup of Soxhlet Extractor

Experimental Setup for Extraction

The experimental setup of  Soxhlet Extractor consists of

  1. Soxhlet Extractor
  2. Mantle Heater (Electric)
  3. Water Condenser.
  4. Flash Evaporator

Photograph shows the experimental setup

Experimental Setup for Extraction | SOXLET EXTRACTOR



Principle of Soxhlet extraction:

Soxhlet extraction is a continuous solid / liquid extraction. A solid which contains the material to be extracted is placed in what is called a thimble. A thimble is made out of a material which will contain the solid but allow liquids to pass through. A lot like filter paper. The thimble containing the material is placed in the Soxhlet extractor. An organic solvent is then heated at reflux. As it boils its vapors rise up and are condensed by a condensor. The condensed solvent then fills up the thimble. After it fills with enough solvent it automatically siphons back down into the container of organic solvent. This process takes place over and over again until all the material to be extracted from the solid in the thimble is now extracted into the organic solvent.

Soxhlet extractor is a piece of laboratory apparatus Soxhlet extractor is not limited to the extraction of lipids. Typically, a Soxhlet extraction is only required where the desired compound has a limited solubility in a solvent, and the impurity is insoluble in that solvent. If the desired compound has a significant solubility in a solvent then a simple filtration can be used to separate the compound from the insoluble substance.

Normally a solid material containing some of the desired compound is placed inside a thimble made from thick filter paper, which is loaded into the main chamber of the Soxhlet extractor. The Soxhlet extractor is placed onto a flask containing the extraction solvent. The Soxhlet is then equipped with a condenser. The solvent is heated to reflux. The solvent vapour travels up a distillation arm, and floods into the chamber housing the thimble of solid. The condenser ensures that any solvent vapour cools, and drips back down into the chamber housing the solid material.

The chamber containing the solid material slowly fills with warm solvent. Some of the desired compound will then dissolve in the warm solvent. When the Soxhlet chamber is almost full, the chamber is automatically emptied by a siphon side arm, with the solvent running back down to the distillation flask. This cycle may be allowed to repeat many times, over hours or days.

During each cycle, a portion of the non-volatile compound dissolves in the solvent. After many cycles the desired compound is concentrated in the distillation flask. The advantage of this system is that instead of many portions of warm solvent being passed through the sample, just one batch of solvent is recycled.

After extraction the solvent is removed, typically by means of a rotary evaporator, yielding the extracted compound. The non-soluble portion of the extracted solid remains in the thimble, and is usually discard.