large scale supercritical fluid system

Supercritical and Subcritical Research and Development

Applied Separations has conducted research and development activities for numerous companies over the last 30 years.  Our laboratories are equipped to perform supercritical fluid extractions, fractionations, and continuous countercurrent extractions of liquid matrices. In addition, Applied Separations has the equipment and experience necessary to perform supercritical cleaning of precision parts, drying of microparticles and aerogels, impregnation of materials using supercritical CO2, and particle formation by numerous techniques. Our personnel and equipment are also capable of performing subcritical water extractions as another green extraction option.

Supercritical CO2 Extractions

Applied Separations has extracted literally hundreds of natural products for the isolation of valuable compounds using supercritical CO2. We have helped companies eliminate hazardous solvents previously used in their processes. Natural products such as rose hip oil are typically extracted from oil seeds with hexane, an organic solvent. The rose hip oil dissolves in hexane and is removed from the non-soluble seed components. The hexane is then evaporated and recycled. Unfortunately, the use of hexane in the production of oil seed extracts for human consumption is a problem because it is a toxic and hazardous solvent that contaminates the seed oil. Some additional examples are as follows:

1. The extraction of oil from Rose Hip seeds

2. The extraction of turmerones from turmeric

3. The extraction of CBD from hemp

4. The extraction and fractionation of crude palm oil

Continuous Countercurrent CO2 Extractions

Our lab equipment can perform continuous countercurrent extractions of liquid matrices using a packed column. Typically, the liquid sample is continuously fed into the top of the column and supercritical CO2 is continuously fed into the bottom of the column. Supercritical CO2 rises in the column and the liquid sample falls based upon density differences. The rising supercritical CO2 dissolves soluble compounds and exits the column at the top. Liquid raffinate falls to the bottom of the column and is removed. Here are a few examples:

1. The extraction of terpenes from citrus peel oil.

2. The extraction of phenylethyl alcohol from deodorizer distillates.

Supercritical CO2 Cleaning of Elastomeric and Metal Precision Parts

Applied Separations has routinely cleaned precision parts for various industries on an experimental basis and as a subcontractor on a continuing basis including:

  1. Cleaning cutting oil and cutting oil residues from machine assemblies
  2. Extraction and removal of unreacted contaminants from elastomeric parts

Supercritical Drying of Microparticles and Aerogels

Our laboratory personnel have years of experience in drying aerogels and microparticles using supercritical CO2. We have established procedures for successfully drying many different types of aerogels including monoliths, powders, and composites. Racks are available for stacking many individual aerogels in larger vessels.

  1. Supercritical CO2 drying of silicon aerogels
  2. Supercritical CO2 drying graphitic aerogels
  3. Supercritical CO2 drying hydrophobic cellulose aerogels
  4. Supercritical CO2 drying polymeric aerogels

Impregnation of Materials using Supercritical CO2

Applied Separations has specialized equipment used in the impregnation of dyes and other compounds into various polymeric materials. We have mastered the uniform dyeing of polymeric fibers using proprietary processes and equipment.

  1. Dyeing of polymeric fibers using supercritical CO2

Particle Formation using Supercritical Fluids

Our laboratory supercritical equipment can perform RESS, GAS, and PCA particle formation experiments for our clients. Our equipment has used supercritical fluids to micronize many compounds including:

  1. The precipitation of nanoparticles of Ibuprofen by Rapid Expansion of a Supercritical Solution (RESS)
  2. Using the Gas AniSolvent (GAS) method to make Submicron Particles of Cimetidine.
  3. Formation of Composite Crystals of acetaminophen and p-acetoxyacetanilide by Precipitation in Supercritical CO2

Subcritical Water Extractions

Water in the subcritical state can be used to perform liquid extractions above the boiling point of water. We have laboratory equipment available for the exploration of subcritical water extractions at elevated temperatures. Water at elevated temperatures and pressures becomes less polar and can be useful as a replacement for methanol in many extraction procedures. Our equipment has been used to:

  1.  Scaleup the subcritical water extraction of polyphenols from grape pomace
  2. Hydrolyze starches using Subcritical water