The separation of organic molecules in downstream processes, such as distillation, plays a vital role in biobased chemical production. A comprehensive study was performed here using ultrasonic energy to separate 11 organic molecules from their binary aqueous solutions under nonthermal, nonequilibrium, and phase-change free conditions. A batch sonoseparator with a three-stage mist collection unit allowed direct analysis of ultrasound-generated mist with an HPLC/GC and differentiation and quantification of the vapor and mist. The results showed that the alcohols (1-butanol, ethanol, 1-propanol, and methanol) and acetone were enriched in the ultrasound-generated mist with enrichment ratios of 3.2-5. On the other hand, ethylene glycol, glycerol, γ-valerolactone (GVL), glucose, and sucrose were diluted with dilution ratios in the range of 2.04-15.7 in the mist and vapor generated by ultrasound (or concentrated in the bulk solution). No enrichment nor dilution of acetic acid was observed. The role of various physicochemical parameters such as dynamic viscosity, surface tension, Henry's law of solubility constant, vapor pressure, and octanol-water partition coefficient in the enrichment was examined. The hydrophobicity of the organic molecules represented by the octanol-water partition coefficient was found to play a crucial role in determining the separation characteristics of the molecules in ultrasound-generated mist and vapor.
- octanol-water partition coefficient
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment