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Principles and methods of extraction

This article has informative content about the extraction. We will also discuss electrochemical principles, different types available as well as various methods of extraction.

Extraction refers to a division process containing the division of a component from a medium. A few examples of the same are liquid extraction and solid-phase extraction. The form of extraction in which contaminants are removed from the medium consisting of a certain compound is called washing. Extraction is used in everyday activities, which are as simple as making tea, where the tea leaves, when boiled in water, remove the caffeine and other components of the tea leaves into the water. The components that can get dissolved in the natural solvents are extracted from the textile distilled throughout extraction. The leftovers of the extraction are studied for their quality and quantity. 


Instances of removed substances are lubricants, stains, residues of surfactants, fibre spin finishes, residual grease in wool, dyes, pesticides, acids, thickeners, heavy metal salts, etc. 

Types of Extraction:

Liquid-liquid Extraction:

This type generally uses a funnel called a separatory funnel to separate a solute through one phase in another by mixing two unmixable phases. It is usually about separating the organic or the natural compounds from an aqueous phase to an organic one.

Solid-liquid Extraction:

This extraction is into the use of Soxhlet extractors. A solid compound containing the impurities is put in a thimble responsible for removing the impurities, for they are insoluble in the solvent chosen for extracting. Still, the wanted component has some solubility (at least).

Extraction of Metals:

Extraction of metals is done mainly from the ores with the help of various processes. The main process that aid in extracting metals and their refinement is called metallurgy. Mining is the procedure that involves the extraction of metals from the ore transferred to the surface of the Earth. 

The type of the ore helps in deciding the steps to be taken in the extraction of metals, but some basic steps are to be followed:

  • Enhancement of ore
  • Enhanced ore used for the extraction of metal 
  • purifying of the contaminated metal

Methods of Extraction:

Various steps are followed in each of the extraction methods to have a complete separation of impurities and the desired component. The rising polarity of solvents indicates the character of the removed particles. Diverse methods of extraction play a significant role in the extraction process. For small tests, Soxhlet extractors are used, and computer-aided finish analysers are used for bigger samples.

The most used methods of extraction are maceration, reflux extraction, and percolation, which frequently use organic or natural solvents and are in the requirement of large quantities of solvents and take much time in extraction. 

The natural methods of extractions have a variety of modern and more organic methods, such as pressurized liquid extraction and supercritical fluid extraction. These modern methods of extraction are being used for the extraction of organic items, and the benefits of these extractions are greater than the traditional like, with less time usage, more selectivity, and less use of natural solvents.


This method of extraction is very easy and uncomplicated. But it has a few weaknesses like it takes more time in extraction and the inefficiency of the extraction. This method of extraction is generally applied in thermolabile substances extraction. When other solvents like luteolin, orient side were employed with this method of extraction, the inefficiency was the highest.


This method of extraction is more proficient than maceration because this method of extraction is continuous, and it keeps on changing the old and inundated solvent with a new and refreshed solvent.


This method of extraction has extracts that have a huge amount of dirt which is water-soluble. However, this extraction method could be used but cannot be applied for extracting volatile or thermolabile substances.

Reflux Extraction:

This method of extraction is far enhanced in the efficiency arena than the maceration and percolation. It needs a very low amount of solvent and employs less time in extraction. Though it is a grade above the maceration and percolation in the efficiency department, it still does not extract thermolabile organic items. This is superior to the extraction method called decoction also as it yielded the most out of puerarin and baicalin. 

Soxhlet Extraction:

This method of extraction is like a beneficial combination of the methods, i.e., percolation and reflux extraction. It uses the notion of reflux to extract parsley along with refreshed solvent. This method of extraction needs a reduced amount of time and solvents than percolation and maceration. This continuous extraction procedure might cause thermal degeneration if used in high temperatures and takes excessive time to extract the substance.  

Pressurised Liquid Extraction (PLE):

This method of extraction uses extreme pressure for extraction. This extreme pressure results in the greater incursion of the solvents in the mixture as the pressure helps maintain high solubility.  

Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE):

This extraction method employs supercritical fluids to play the part of solvents in the extraction process. These solvents have the capacity of dissolving a great number of organic items.


With new advances happening every day and new technologies popping up in the developing world, more modern and advanced methods of extraction are expected to be employed for extracting organic items. Reflux extraction is the most widely used method of extraction for efficient separation. This method of extraction is considered a green method of extraction. Some other methods of extraction like PLE and SFE are also taken as the methods with enhanced yields of extraction, stillness, and selectivity of the substances to be extracted and the process to be used. These methods of extraction are used in daily life as well as for industrial reasons also.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the NEET UG Examination Preparation.

Define extraction in short.

Ans : Extraction refers to a division process containing the division of a component from a medium.

What are the two types of extraction?

Ans : The two types of extraction are liquid-liquid extraction and solid-liquid extraction....Read full

Name all the methods of extractions.

Ans : There are several methods of extraction: maceration, percolation, decoction, reflux extractio...Read full

Where can one use the method of extraction? Describe.

Ans : These methods of extraction are used in daily life as well as for industrial reasons also. Extraction is used in everyday ac...Read full

What do you understand about metallurgy?

Ans : Ores are the main source of extraction of metals, which is used in several processes. Processes that aid in the extraction o...Read full

What are some of the basic steps taken to extract metal from the Ores?

Ans : Three basic steps are to be followed in the process of extraction of metal, which are: Enhancement of ore ...Read full