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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chemical solvent extraction

In 1805, Bucholz extracted uranium from a nitric acid solution into ether and back extracted it into pure water. This probably the first reported solvent extraction investigation.

In his pioneering work, Bulcholz performed extraction as well as strip and he concluded that the degree of extraction depends on the phase volume ratio well as the salt concentration in the aqueous phase.

Before this the methodology of solvent extraction has been developed, albeit in a different field of chemistry, with it origins in 1747 when the German chemist Andreas Marggraf observed crystals forming after beetroot had been extracted with brandy.

In 1842, Professor Eugène-Melchior Péligot (1811-1890) from Institut National Agronomique discovered a novel method for the extraction of uranium (VI) with ethylacetate or diethyl ether.

This was followed by intensive study on the solvent extraction of iron (III) with diethyl ether form hydrochloric acid.

The solvent extraction methods were put in firm footing by Walther Hermann Nernst (1864-1941) by formulating an equation satisfying thermodynamic consideration of concentration as well as the activity coefficient of solute both in aqueous and the organic phase.

The origin of solvent extraction is shrouded in mystery, but the method might have been used already by the Persian alchemist as-Razi who is believed to have used extraction to separate metals.
Chemical solvent extraction

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