Activotec introduces entry-level SFE for budget-conscious labs

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supercritical fluid Carbon dioxide

Activotec makes available an entry-level Supercritical Fluid
Extractor (SFE) to suit routine analytical work in smaller
laboratories that might require many features typically found in
more costly SFE equipment.

The SFT-100 was developed for laboratory researchers who want to investigate the feasibility of applying supercritical fluid techniques to a wide variety of analytical and processing problems.

Supercritical fluids are highly compressed gases, which combine properties of gases and liquids in a specific manner. Fluids such as supercritical xenon, ethane and carbon dioxide offer a range of unusual chemical possibilities in both synthetic and analytical chemistry.

The main advantages of using supercritical fluids for extractions are that they are inexpensive, contaminant free, and less costly to dispose safely than organic solvents.

The SFT-100 features a wide range of extraction vessels from 10 ml to 100 and can be operated at pressures up to 10,000 psi. (68.9 MPa) with temperatures ranging from ambient to 200°C.

The range of vessel volumes available makes the SFT-100 suited to both analytical scale SFE applications and basic process development work.

With a 100 ml vessel, the SFT-100 can extract very low levels of key components from materials and process larger amounts of bulk material than would be possible with smaller, analytical scale SFE equipment.

Inside the SFT-100's oven, a pre-heater ensures that the temperature of the fluid reaching the extractions vessel is controlled precisely. This is essential to obtaining accurate, repeatable results.

>Activotec​ have targeted laboratories in the public sector, which may be operating on a tight budget such as of colleges and universities. They added that the system may be incorporated into teaching laboratories and is capable enough to be used for serious research.

Additional refinements to the system include a dual piston pump that produces the high pressures required for supercritical fluid work.

The system has built-in safety precautions to prevent accidental over-temperature or overpressure conditions. As an additional safety backup, a rupture disc assembly provides mechanical protection against accidental over pressurisation of the system.

A variable restrictor valve (back pressure regulator) provides control over flow rates, which is essential in obtaining highly reproducible results from run to run. Flow rates can range from 0.1 to 24 ml/min. (0.08 to 18 grams/ min.) of liquid CO2 under typical operating conditions.

While carbon dioxide is the most commonly used solvent, the SFT-100, with some modification, allows the user flexibility to work with a variety of supercritical fluids.

Extract collection options include: solid phase extraction (SPE) cartridges, fractional cyclone separators, and EPA sample vials. An optional co-solvent addition module is available for the SFT-100.

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