Essential Oil Lab Report

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1.1. Background and Justification

Essential oils are aromatic oils found in different parts of plants used for flavors, perfumes, aromatherapy and medicine [1]. These oils are volatile and different from fixed oils which are mainly triglycerides of fatty acids. Essential oils are obtained from thousands of plant species and in different parts of the plant such as flowers, leaves, twigs etc. Chemically, essential oils are very complex combinations containing compounds of every major functional group class [2]. The oils are isolated by different methods such as steam and solvent extraction. Essential oils have been produced and used for different purposes for many centuries. There are signs that crude preparations
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Solvents hexane, heptane, and methanol have been selected to be used during the experiments.

3.2. Equipment

A soxhlet extractor will be used to extract essential oils from the plant material (solid-liquid extraction). A flask will be used to hold the solvents and a condenser will be used to condense the solvent and essential oil mixture. A heating mantle with three heating plates will be used to heat the soxhlet extractor during the experiment. Filter paper will be used to filter the product from the soxhlet extractor if need be. A rotary evaporator will be used for liquid-liquid extraction. GCMS (Gas chromatography mass spectrometry) will be used to analyze the extract.

3.3. Experimental
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This yield will be used as a basis to determine the yield percentages after extraction. The three solvents namely hexane, heptane and pentane will be tested simultaneously using three soxhlet extractors. A flask half filled with the organic solvent will be attached to the soxhlet extractor containing the plant material. The cooling water will be turned on for the condensing unit. The extractors with the flasks will be placed on a heating mantle. Once the solvent boils the solvent vapor will travel up the distillation arm. When it condenses, it will drop on the solid substance contained in a thimble and extract the soluble compounds. When the liquid level fills the body of the extractor, it will automatically siphon into the flask. This process will continue repeatedly as the solvent in the flask is vaporized and condensed. When the extraction is done the heating-mantle will turned off and so will the cooling

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