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Issue 4, 2018
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Automated separation of immiscible liquids using an optically monitored porous capillary

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Abstract

We report an automated procedure for the inline separation of two immiscible liquids based on a porous polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) capillary and a small number of inexpensive electronic components. By monitoring the light transmitted through fluid streams at the two outlets of the separator and iteratively adjusting a needle-valve located at one outlet until smooth time-invariant signals are observed at both outlets, the separator is capable of establishing complete liquid/liquid separation within minutes. Using mixtures of water and toluene as a test system, near quantitative recovery of the two liquids was achieved over a wide range of flow conditions without detectable cross contamination at either outlet. In a twenty-four hour test run, departures from complete separation occurred just three times, and on each occasion complete separation was automatically restored within ninety seconds. Further tests on other liquid/liquid mixtures showed that the automated separator is capable of rapidly and reliably inducing the separation of aqueous–organic, aqueous–fluorous and organic–fluorous mixtures, making it a versatile tool for numerous applications in fluidic analysis, synthesis and purification.

Graphical abstract: Automated separation of immiscible liquids using an optically monitored porous capillary

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Feb 2018, accepted on 05 Apr 2018 and first published on 16 May 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8RE00023A
Citation: React. Chem. Eng., 2018,3, 467-477
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Automated separation of immiscible liquids using an optically monitored porous capillary

    J. H. Bannock, T. Y. (. Lui, S. T. Turner and J. C. deMello, React. Chem. Eng., 2018, 3, 467
    DOI: 10.1039/C8RE00023A

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