Countercurrent Liquid-Liquid Separation

I’m searching for some large-scale solutions for liquid-liquid separations, like hexane/water. Glass reactors are nice because you can see everything separate, but I’m a sucker for stainless steel and I would like to avoid the final separation taking place in smaller separatory funnels. Automation is always goof.

Has anyone done any scrubbing and separation of liquids in a counterflow, centrifugal mixer/separator? I think I remember Delta Separations advertising a unit. Any experience stories are extremely welcome, if so.

I’m thinking a series of progressively smaller chambers to get the tedious volumes and emulsion separated.

I am doing some research into columnar countercurrent liquid liquid extraction. the naming is weird so research can be kinda hard to find its similar in theory to bubble column stripping and certain types of chromatography. the centrifuge option basically makes it centrifugation partition chromatography.
ru looking to build something or just find a premade solution?

Pre-made solution would be nice, as I’m a bit budgeted for R&D (especially for something I know very little about).

Otherwise, if anybody REALLY likes differential equations and wants to build one… I found some neat files to drop into the “Data Dump.” I’ll create a folder in the “Add New Files Here” folder and label it “Countercurrent Separation”

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i have prob a gb of stuff related to it lol

Please do. I’m deep into counter current partitioning…

Asahi bought GlasKeller. With that came the best agitated L/L column in the world…

thats definitely the dopeness but im leaning towards ultrasonic assisted packed columns. but thats for other reasons and mechanically agitated ones like that look awesome.

Counter-current separations.pdf (988.0 KB)
Countercurrent Liquid-Liquid Extraction in a Packed Tower .pdf (1.4 MB)
countercurrentbaffelingUS2713478.pdf (797.9 KB)
Equilibrium Separation Columns.pdf (1.2 MB)
Effects of liquid layers and distribution patterns on three-phase saturation_document.pdf (3.6 MB)
Hydrodynamics of countercurrent bubble column Experiments and predictions.pdf (1.2 MB)
Hydrodynamics and Mass Transfer in Spray and Packed Liquid-Liquid Extraction Columns.pdf (2.3 MB)
Liquid- Liquid Extraction of 2,3-Butanediol Performance of Packed Extraction Column Using Continuous Countercurrent .pdf (313.3 KB)
Liquid- Liquid Extraction of 2,3-Butanediol Performance of Packed Extraction Column Using Continuous Countercurrent .pdf (313.3 KB)

Unfortunately alot of my stuff revolves around co2 which u dont seem to be a big fan of lol these are a few of the ones that dont


@hambread @Plant2pipe
Where has your research lead you? Make any purchases?

i wish i have i design ive been trying to prototype but its slow without financial backing

You need stuff made from ss? Pulsed tig and machine tools here! Let’s collaborate!

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id love to, and yes stainless steel fabrication is basically exactly what i need.

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Lay it on me brother!

where to start lol the straight forward stuff i feel we could make relatively easily are things like mounts to attach ultrasonic transducers and peltier generator to a vessel or heat exchangers and condensers.
i have many not as straightforward ideas too tho that i would have trouble conveying over text
i have an idea that uses intermittent reverse flow and an in-situ spectrometer to maximize a chromatographic separation the is very related to countercurrent columns

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You might also want to look into Cinc separators (CINC counter current extraction with extended mixing time (Centrifugal Extractors) - YouTube), a different take on LLE using centrifuges. The lab-scale units in the video run about $7.5K each, at last inquiry, but are also available in plant-sized versions. I looked into these when engineering an environmental restoration application where we had a floating oily material (along with other nasties) in a shallow TCE-contaminated aquifer. Gruesome!
In an amusing side-note, there was an investor’s flap over this tech some time back:
Stephen Baldwin sues Kevin Costner over technology to fight oil spills.

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yea they hav a pretty cool process

Sounds good, shoot me the drawings for what you need!

Why not just use a reactor? I don’t see the purpose of the LLE machines that only serve one function unless its running continuously.

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with the market going the way it is, continuous processing is where the smart money is.

unless you’re planning to boutique the shit out of it instead…


I hear ya but reactors go up to 100L and really if you just want to mix some stuff you could use a big fermenter with stirring. I guess I’m not understanding why you need such complex machinery like ultrasonic and specialized LLE devices.

In many ways glass reactor is to short path as continuous flow LLE is to wiped film. However there are some key benefits to certain agitated LLE columns, like the ones Asahi offers.

The ability to create temperature gradients allows for better separation with solvents that may not normally separate in a reactor. Another benefit is the ease of automation. And finally CIP is faster and cheaper.

That being said, continuous flow LLE is truly advantageous at scale. For the majority of this industry, a reactor is fine.


from my experience when extracting with ethanol the extraction step is by far the fastest part of the process. stripping solvent takes a long time even with 50 liter rotovaps so ive been working on alternative methods of solvent stripping to overcome that bottleneck. every operation i have seen has there rotovaps going 24/7 and they often have to take days off waiting for the rotovaps to finish.
i assume ur talking about ethanol if ur thinking about using ss fermenters made for wine and beer. this is definitely going to happen but the amount of time its gonna take to strip thousands of gallons of ethanol is gonna be crazy.

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