We have oil! Thats right REAL kudzu seed oil. It took a long time and a lot of dehulling. But we did it!
We recently put the oil and hexane mixture into the rotary evaporator to remove the hexane. The rotary evaporator works by heating the mixture and creating a vacuum, causing the mixture ti evaporate. Once the mixture evaporates the hexane condenses on the coils and then is collected in a flask for reuse. We have been playing with the conditions some to find the optimal conditions for the hexane to evaporate. The lower the pressure the higher the temperature the faster the hexane will evaporate. However disaster can occur if temperature is too high or pressure is too low. Wish us luck!
As our (Bain Brown, John Nguyen and Nicole Rideout’s) project is getting started we have decided to do a little bit of practice. The best part you ask? The rotary evaporator!
So, what is a rotary evaprator, well the Rot. Evap. is the the machine that seperates a mixture into its parts (in our case, hexane and the oil). It works by creating a vacuum, bringing the mixture to a temperature where the desired substance will evaporate, and then condensing and collecting the evaporated liquid in a different flask. This leaving the mixture separated in 2 different flasks. See diagram below
Why is it exciting? It shows progress! Finally being able to see our oil left in a round bottom flask is a major confidence booster. Our project finally feels like it is going somewhere! We will eventually be using the Rot. Evap. to separate the kudzu oil form the solvent (hexane), but for now we are only using it to practice. Check out the video to see it in “action. Video of Rotary Evaporator