American Chemical Society
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Acetone–Heptane as a Solvent System for Combining Chromatography on Silica Gel with Solvent Recycling

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-01-07, 00:00 authored by Dale G. Drueckhammer, Steven Qizhi Gao, Xiaofei Liang, Junzhuo Liao
Solvents used in chromatographic purification of intermediates and products are a major source of waste and expense in synthetic research and synthetic processes. The ethyl acetate–hexane mixtures most commonly used for flash chromatography on silica gel are not readily separable by distillation due to their similar boiling points and azeotrope formation. Potential solvents for chromatography that are more amenable to separation and recovery by distillation were thus explored. Acetone–heptane mixtures were found to be convenient and sufficiently separable for routine use and recovery for organic separations. The greater eluotropic strength and especially the transparent short-wavelength UV window of acetone provide additional advantages over the commonly used ethyl acetate. The recycling of solvents from chromatography can greatly reduce the volume of waste generated by synthetic laboratories while also reducing operating costs.