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Safe, automatic solvent purification
Quick, well-managed distillation at Radboud University
Purifying ultra dry solvents in a solvent purification
system is quicker and safer than distilling them. PhD
candidate Hidde Elferink at Radboud University’s
faculty of Synthetic Organic Chemistry explains. “We
research the chemical bonding of sugars, also known as
glycosylation. We need extremely pure, dry solvents for
that. When we used to distill those, things sometimes
went wrong. Now, purification is fast, safe and flawless.”
Distillation is a great old-school method for drying solvents.
But it is neither quick, nor easy, says Hidde Elferink. “I hated
doing it when I was a student. Setting things up in the lab takes
up so much time and space. So much can go wrong. Just take
THF [tetrahydrofuran] for instance. If you don’t pay very close
attention, it goes dry and then it can combust. I must admit
that in my student days, I caused several fires and even a small