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Search Completed | Title | Extracting limonene from oranges by steam distillation
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Text | Extracting limonene from oranges by steam distillation | 001
Extracting limonene from oranges
by steam distillation
This experiment demonstrates the extraction of plant oils.
The peel of oranges is boiled in water and the oil produced (limonene) distilled in steam
at a temperature just below 100 °C, well below its normal boiling point. The immiscible oil can then be separated. Direct extraction by heating would result in decomposition whereas steam distillation does not destroy the chemicals involved.
The experiment also links for tests for unsaturation, and at a higher level, chirality. Lesson organisation
This experiment can be conducted as a demonstration at secondary level as an introduction to some of the ideas about the extraction of plant oils. It can be used to stimulate discussion about the commercial extraction of plant oils – how science works.
As described this demonstration will take a full lesson of approximately 50 minutes.
This can also be conducted as a class practical at key stages 4 and 5. It can stimulate further discussions as to the process of steam distillation where oil with a boiling point of 176 °C is “distilled” at just under 100 °C.
Limonene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon which can be tested for using bromine water or potassium manganate (VII). At a higher level, it is also a chiral compound and the experiment can lead to a discussion of optical enantiomers.
Apparatus and chemicals
Eye protection •
Heat resistant mat
Tripod and gauze
110 °C thermometer Measuring cylinder (100 cm3) Measuring cylinder (50 cm3) Distillation apparatus
250 cm3 round bottomed ask Still head
Thermometer pocket Condenser
Receiver adapter Test tubes and bungs, 3 Dropping pipette Anti-bumping granules
Bromine water, no more than 0.2% v/v (Irritant) Potassium manganate(VII). 0.001M, (Oxidising, Harmful) Cyclohexene (Flammable, Irritant)
Cyclohexane (Flammable, Irritant)
Distilled water, 100 cm3.
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Image | Extracting limonene from oranges by steam distillation
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