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Subject - Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry
The soxhlet apparatus is used for liquid-solid extractions. The glass apparatus consists of a distillation flask, a reflux condenser, a chamber containing a thimble of thick filter paper to hold the substance to be extracted and a siphon side arm.
The solvent (extraction agent) is heated to reflux in the distillation flask, the vapors are condensed in the reflux condenser and drop into the chamber containing the thimble with the material to be extracted. The chamber slowly fills with the warm solvent and some of the material is dissolved in the solvent. When the Soxhlet chamber is almost full it is automatically emptied by a siphon side arm, with the solvent running back down to the distillation flask. This cycle is repeated several times to enrich the solvent in the distillation flask with the extracted material.
The Soxhlet apparatus is named after the German professor of agrochemistry Franz Ritter von Soxhlet (1848-1926) who used it to determine the fat contents of dried food.