Sara Márquez, Laura Martínez y Camila Sandoval

Definition of the method

Liquid-liquid extractions using a separatory funnel are essentially the only kind of extraction performed in the organic teaching labs. Liquid-liquid means that two liquids are used in the extraction procedure. The liquids must be immiscible: this means that they will form two layers when added together, like oil and water. Some compounds are more soluble in the organic layer (the "oil") and some compounds are more soluble in the aqueous layer (the "water").


-Extraction processes are well suited to the petroleum industry because of the need to separate heat-sensitive liquid feeds according to chemical type (e.g. aliphatic, aromatic, naphthenic) rather than by molecular weight or vapour pressure.

-Other major applications exist in the biochemical or pharmaceutical industry, where emphasis is on the separation of antibiotics and protein recovery. In the inorganic chemical industry, they are used to recover high-boiling components such as phosphoric acid, boric acid, and sodium hydroxide from aqueous solutions.

- Some examples are given below:

Extraction of nitrobenzene after reaction of HNO3 with toluene in H2SO4

Extraction of methylacrylate from organic solution with perchlorethylene

Extraction of benzylalcohol from a salt solution with toluene

Removing of H2S from LPG with MDEA

Extraction of caprolactam from ammonium sulfate solution with benzene

Extraction of acrylic acid from wastewater with butanol

Removing residual alkalis from dichlorohydrazobenzene with water

Extraction of methanol from LPG with water

Extraction of chloroacetic acid from methylchloroacetate with water

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