Rotary Evaporators

When it comes to concentrates, distillate is as pure as it gets. To extract distillate from a plant, you will need to use a rotary evaporator, sometimes called a rotovap.

What is a rotary evaporator?

Rotary evaporators are used in distillation for efficient and gentle removal of solvents from samples through evaporation. This method is normally applied to "low boiling" solvents such as n-hexane and ethyl acetate from compounds that would normally be solid at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure.

By controlling the temperature and operating pressure of the rotary evaporator, the operator can remove a solvent from a sample containing a liquid compound, such as terpenes, and preserving that compound in the sample.

Since its invention in 1950, the rotary evaporator has been a ubiquitous scientific tool for the use of solvent removal. The rotary evaporator enables the removal of solvent in a controlled manner under vacuum. Rotary Evaporators purge the solvents from the finished product and recovers them, making the oil exceptionally pure.

What are the parts and components of a rotary evaporator?

A rotary evaporator can appear very complex and scientific, but there are really only four parts you need to be aware of for simple understanding of this process.

The most important components of a rotary evaporator are:

  • Heat Bath
  • Rotor
  • Condensor
  • Solvent Trap

How does a rotary evaporator work?

The rotary evaporator works by increasing the evaporation rate of a solvent, and can be broken down into three steps:

  • Reducing pressure, therefore lowering the boiling point of the solvent
  • Rotating the sample to increase the effective surface area
  • Finally, heating the solution

Distillation can be a complex extraction method. Make sure you know what you are doing before you start using this equipment, and always follow the proper safety protocol.

If you are unsure of any aspect of this process or which roto vap is right for you, give our experts a call at 888-815-9763 and let us help you through the process.

If you want to learn more about the other methods of extraction available to you, check out our guide on post harvest extracts.

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