Steam distillation, the method used in this lab for essential oil extraction, takes advantage of the volatility of a compound to evaporate when heated with steam and the hydrophobicity of the compound to separate into an oil phase during condensation.
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Steam distillation is a much gentler method of achieving the same end. In steam distillation, the distilling pot is infused with steam, which carries the Oil's vapor into the distilling head and then into the condenser, where the Oil and Water co-condense.
During the steam distillation process, steam passes through the plant material. The combination of heated steam and gentle pressure causes the essential oil to
A mathematical model was evaluated to predict the essential oil recovery by steam distillation of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), basil (Ocimum basilicum .
The Distillation Process. During distillation the plant material is placed upon a grid inside the still. Once inside, the still is sealed, and, depending upon the above methods, steam or water/steam slowly breaks through the plant material to remove its volatile constituents.