Soxhlet extractor

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Drawing of a Soxhlet extractor
1: Stirrer 2: Still pot 3: Distillation path 4: Thimble 5: Solid 6: Siphon top 7: Siphon exit 8: Expansion adapter 9: Condensor 10: Cooling water in 11: Cooling water out
Animation showing how a Soxhlet extractor works

A Soxhlet extractor is a kind of laboratory equipment. It is made of glass. Franz von Soxhlet invented it in 1879. It has a flask, an extraction chamber, and a condenser. It can be used for solid-liquid extractions.

In this discontinuous extraction process, the extraction solvent is located inside the boiling flask, when this solvent boiling, it pass from distillation pass and condenses on the solid material. The moment that the volume of liquid achieve a specific value, the siphon exit transfer the liquid located before in thimble to boiling flask for concentrate the extract.

Uses[change | edit source]

Chemists use it to remove a material from a solid. It is useful when removing materials that do not dissolve well in any solvent. Chemists use a solvent such as ether or alcohol in the extractor. The Soxhlet extractor applies the solvent repeatedly to the solid until enough of the material dissolves.

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