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Essential oil/Alchohol/Solvent purification and separation Answered

I have a lot of impure essential oil that has a lot of water in it and was thinking about ways to get some of the water out. Would salting out with Epsom salts work? I've seen an Instructable where a nonpolar solvent is used to extract nepecatalone https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Kitty-Crack%3a--ultra-potent-catnip-extract/ would one be able to use a solvent that is immiscible (I swear that's a word) in water to get the constituents that are not water soluble out of the water?

Also can common solvents (I'm thinking alcohol, acetone, and toulene) be salted out to increase the concentration? Would this work with dilute hydrochloric acid?



your going to need a "still" to do that.

The problem with using a still and essential oils is that some essential oils boil at above water temperature and some boil below, so one would need to distill each constituent separately. -mitch

This might work, however I've read that there are problems encountered when using it (for alcohol distillation) because the Ice freezes around the oil (or alcohol) trapping it and making it impossible to get out without melting the ice, which would defeat the purpose of freezing it. -mitch

Yes but you could just thaw it out again - easy to try, nothing lost. L

True, I'll stick some in the freezer and see what happens

you can use a fractional still and each distillation would be an almost separate item. Make sure your thermometer is in the right spot and its accurate and you can toss out the water once you get to it.

There is plenty of diagrams on line, they mostly use an "organic chemistry distillation kit" Very expensive to buy and maintain (cheapest piece is about 20 bucks). If your resourceful you can build one pretty easily out of plumbing parts, same rule about the thermometer, you dont want to toss the good stuff because your thermometer is in the wrong spot.

The still isn't going to be much use as these oils were extracted with steam in the first place. L

how would that make a difference? we distilled commerical essential oil that was @ 30% and made it ~97% it was lemon grass.

Was it mixed with water? This oil/water mix was produced by steam distillation, you'd expect something similar to happen if you tried distilling it again. Final clean-up perhaps. L

Oil and water usually don't mix. Adding ordinary (table) salt should help to separate the two liquids.
Alcohol (ethanol) and acetone are water miscible, but dried (oven) Epsom salts will remove water. Toluene is unpleasant and has a high boiling point, I don't think aqueous acid will help you. Diethyl ether would be great, but you're unlikely to be able to get any.


Would the dried Epsom salts or table salt remove water from the dilute HCl?

You want to make dry hydrogen chloride, or concentrate dilute aqueous? L

I have a bottle of Hydrochloric acid that is 1m. I want to make it a higher concentration (molarity) would I be able to do that by adding Epsom or table salt. -mitch

I don't think you can (easily) concentrate this stuff. Sulphuric, yes. L What do you want it for?

I'm probably going to use the dilute form to neutralize any NaOH spills (I'm using the NaOH for soap), And I'm doing a small scale experiment on extracting caffeine and any other alkaloids from tea with an acid base extraction. But I probably won't use that for anything since it might have impurities. It's more just to satisfy curiosity. Would the aqueous HCl react with the Epsom salts which are Magnesium Sulfate (MgSO4) Would there be a way to strip the sulfur or magnesium off of the salts. That'd be a lot cheaper than buying magnesium. I'm no chemist (I pretty much flunked both semesters in high school) so what I said may make no sense. -mitch

the problem with using HCl to neutralize NaOH is that both are strong. Any excess of one of the reagents can lead to either a highly acidic solution left or a strong base left. The safer thing would to use vinegar. You can flood the spill with vinegar and not get a chemical burn when you try to clean it up. Plus vinegar is pretty cheep I dont think HCl is reactive enough to strip the Mg off the SO4 ion. And if it did you would end up with MgCl2 and H2SO4, and Sulfuric acid is pretty nasty so i could see it dissolving the Magnesium chloride so you would see no reaction.

heck yeah. ever see fight club. But yeah, vinegar is for bases, and baking soda is for acid spills.

. Centrifuging might work. Maybe.

I'm also wondering about the reaction between Hydrochloric Acid and Aluminum, which produces Hydrogen and Aluminum Chloride (I may be mistaken). This could be useful for a Hydrogen torch, the only problem is that I would run out of HCl very fast. Would there be a way to get Hydrochloric acid from the Aluminum Chloride? -mitch

slacked lime might work.