Waste Chemicals and Solvents – Profiling and Recovery at Academic Chemical Laboratories

Author(s): Hanifa MR and Elzagheid MI

Accumulation of waste chemicals and solvents in college and university level laboratories are considerably high and cost effective. The disposal of those waste chemicals and solvents now-a-days need long procedures for separation and testing and this is very costly. A simple and cost-effective profile analysis method and recovery of solvents procedure will be very useful for any academic institution and this kind of straight forward procedure can even be assigned to college students where they will gain real time analysis experience and knowledge. In this manuscript, simple qualitative tests and precipitation procedures are described and standard physical property analysis methods are also used to identify the recovered organic solvents and the inorganic waste. Using a separatory funnel waste chemical were separated into organic and inorganic layers and stored in separate containers. Simple distillation was then carried out first to separate the lighter components faster and then fractional distillation was used to separate each component efficiently and purely. Pure fractions were further checked by the refractometer and density meter and the unknown separated components were compared with reference compounds. In addition to that, the inorganic waste was further investigated by flame photometer and the presence of barium, sodium and potassium in the inorganic waste was confirmed in the samples.

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