The Effects of Washing the Organic Layer With Sodium Carbonate

Bowl of sodium carbonate and lemon.
••• Geo-grafika/iStock/Getty Images

Extraction is one of the more common procedures in organic chemistry, and it's often performed to remove an organic solvent from water. In order to effect the extraction, the two solvents must be immiscible, which means that neither dissolves in the other. They then form two layers -- an organic layer and an aqueous (water-based) one that can be separated mechanically. Washing the organic layer with sodium carbonate helps separate it from the aqueous solution. Methylene chloride, which is a component of paint strippers, is one compound that is often isolated using this method.

Removing Alkaline Material

Sometimes the organic layer, when derived from an acidic solution, should be washed with sodium carbonate, which is a base. A salt is formed in this reaction that is soluble in water and will be flushed out with the aqueous phase.

Keeping the Two Layers Separate

Washing the organic layer with sodium carbonate helps to decrease the solubility of the organic layer into the aqueous layer. This allows the organic layer to be separated more easily.

Separating a Homogenous Mixture

If the organic and aqueous layer are in a homogenous mixture (one in which the solvents are uniformly dispersed), then sodium carbonate can be effective in separating the two layers.

Related Articles

How to Make Fenton's Reagent
How Do Air Scrubbers Work?
How to Neutralize an Acid
Zinc Plating Process
If You Dilute Vinegar, How Will It Affect the pH Value?
Organic Sedimentary vs. Chemical Sedimentary Rock
How to Test the Completeness of Precipitation of an...
What Happens When You Add Vinegar to Seashells?
Reduction of Camphor to Isoborneol
How to Dissolve Calcium Oxalate
Hydrous Vs. Anhydrous
How Do Wetlands Filter Water?
Types of Distillation
Sodium Nitrate & Hydrochloric Acid
How to Purify Gold
Citric Acid Powder Uses
Effects of Lime & Alum on Water Purification
The Effects of NaOH Concentration with H2O
Alternative Solvents to Benzene
What Does Solute Mean?