Rotavaporator: What is it? What is it for?

A rotary evaporator is laboratory equipment used to remove or recover solvents at low pressure. This instrument is used to evaporate substances through the distillation process, to later be condensed and finally separated into its components one by one, thanks to its specific boiling points.

How is a rotary evaporator made?

This equipment consists of an electric motor that causes the rotation of a tube attached to a ground glass joint guide tube. The latter has attached to its structure a round bottom flask containing the solution. Maintaining a rotary motion, this flask is partially immersed in the water. In the system there is a coolant that circulates a liquid (water or antifreeze), this generates the condensation of the solvent, which is recovered in a collector. Its components include:

  • A round flask to collect the distillate material
  • A vacuum equipment to reduce the internal pressure of the equipment
  • A height-adjustable column and a spiral-shaped condensing column
  • An adjustable heating unit
  • A second round flask for evaporation
  • A pedestal for the rotation motor

Normally the rotation of the equipment is achieved with an induction motor of 1/630 h.p at 1,700 r.p.m. The temperature of the water in the thermoregulated bath is controlled by the control of a thermostat.

How does this team work?

The sample to be processed is inserted into the separation flask, which is submerged in the water, and subsequently the thermoregulated bath and the rotation system are turned on, then by the action of the vacuum pump, the pressure is reduced, allowing the solvents to separate from the solutes, and that these solvents will be distilled in the condensation tube at low temperature and collected in the flask intended for it.

Benefits of a rotary evaporator

The rotary evaporator is more efficient than simple or conventional distillation equipment. This is due to the presence of a vacuum system coupled to its structure, and that when the sample is rotated a greater contact surface is generated, which allows evaporation to occur more quickly, and it also has a heating system. which makes the distillation process more efficient and precise.

Uses of a rotary evaporator

Rotavaporators are widely used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, to accomplish the gentle removal of solvents by evaporation. So we can find them in chemical laboratories, educational institutions, research laboratories, pharmaceutical laboratories, and even in the so-called molecular kitchen, for the preparation of distillates and extracts.

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