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This experiment was conducted to determine the distribution coefficient K. Two immiscible
liquids were mixed in a separatory funnel and formed two layers. The upper layer consisted
of acetic acid and the lower layer consisted of diethyl ether. After establishing equilibrium,
samples of each layer were obtained and titrated with sodium hydroxide using
phenolphthalein as its indicator. The value of K was calculated after determining the
concentration of each layer.

When two immiscible solids come in contact with each other, a dissolved substance
will distribute itself between the two according to a definite equilibrium. The principle of
the equilibrium distribution of a substance (solute) between two immiscible phases, one
of which is usually a solvent is the bases for extraction in technical sense.

Crystallization, purification, and isolation (may only be restricted to a solid) are

insufficient ways to separate mixtures of compounds. Extraction is the recovery of a
substance from a mixture by bringing it into contact with a solvent, which dissolves the
desired material. Unlike recrystallization and distillation, it does not yield a pure product;
thus, the former techniques may be required to purify a product isolated by extraction.

For a reaction carried by an aqueous solution at the end of the reaction there may be a
presence of unreacted material or unwanted side products. Solvent extraction may be used
to obtain the pure product. The aqueous solution is shaken with another solvent that does
not mixed with water. Such solvents are said to be immiscible with water, could be, for
example, ether, CCl4. The immiscible solvent is chosen such that the substances that are
wanted will dissolve in it, leaving the other substance in the water layer. The solvent are
separated and if necessary, the procedure is repeated by adding more of the organic
solvent to the aqueous layer, shaking the solutions together, separating them and running
of the solution containing the required product.


2.1 Materials:

Three 100 ml separatory funnels

Three 100 ml Erlenmeyer Flasks
100 ml volumetric flask
25 ml pipette
10 ml pipette
1.0 N acetic acid or trichloroacetic acid or other acid
Glacial acetic acid
Carbon tetrachloride
0.5 N sodium hydroxide
0.01 N sodium hydroxide

2.2 Methods:

100 ml of 0.50 N, 1 N, and 2 N solutions of acetic acid in water were prepared. 25 ml

of each were pipette into 100 ml separatory funnels. Each were added 25 ml of diethyl ether.
The separatory funnels were covered with closed rubber tubes to keep water out of the
thermostat and set in a thermostat at 25° at 20 minutes. Shake frequently.

The solutions were allowed to come to equilibrium before removing from the
thermostat. The lower layers were run into beakers taking careful care that the upper layers
were not included. 10 ml samples of the drained lower layers were titrated with sodium
hydroxide using phenolphthalein as indicator. Samples of the upper layer were taken by a
pipette and titrated with sodium hydroxide using phenolphthalein as indicator.

A second set of experiments were carried out using 25 ml aliquots of carbon

tetrachloride instead of ether.10 ml of the aliquots were measured immediately since carbon
tetrachloride is very volatile. The phases were titrated with 0.01 N sodium hydroxide.


CH3COOH Sample Used Volume Concenrattion Kc

Normality (ml) NaOh used
0.5 N 10 8.7 0.0435 N 14.5
1.0 N 10 16.1 1.61 N 14.64
2.0 N 10 28.4 5.78 N 12.52
Kave= 13.4
Table 3.1.Tabulated Results of the Upper layer
CH3COOH Sample Used Volume Concenrattion Kc
Normality (ml) NaOh used
0.5 N 10 0.6 0.03 N 14.5
1.0 N 10 11 0.11 N 14.64
2.0 N 10 2.3 0.46 N 12.52
Kave= 13.4
Table 3.2. Tabulated Results in Lower Layer


In the first solution, diethyl ether, water and 0.5N acetic acid. On the second , is a
mixture of diethyl ether, water and 1.0N acetic acid. And lastly, solution 3 is a mixture of
diethyl ether, water and 2.0N acetic acid. The liquid formed two layers. The upper layer of
the solution contains the organic-rich layer which is diethyl ether and the lower layer
contains the aqueous-rich layer which is water and acetic acid. There is a definite ratio of
distribution of solute in immiscible liquids, making the volume of liquids below its saturation
point. The ratio is represented by a constant k known as the distribution coefficient. In table,
it is observed that the molarity and volume of NaOH used for the titration increases with the
increase of concentration of acetic acid. It is also observed that the more volume of NaOH
were used in the aqueous layer than that of the organic layer leading to a decreasing value for
K as the concentration of the solute increases. The concentration of the upper layer over the
concentration of the lower layer denotes K. As the concentration of acetic acid is increased,
the distribution coefficient, K, decreases. The lower layer is more concentrated than the upper
layer. This means that more moles of acetic acid are present in the aqueous phase than in the
organic phase.


When a substance is added to a mixture which soluble to lesser or greater extent

in both immiscible liquids, by shaking and settling to constant temperature, the
concentration in each layer becomes constant but the solute will continually interchange
itself between the two layers. The layer that has most of the desired product in it can be
separated from the other. The higher the distribution coefficient the more solute will be
transferred to the extraction solvent. The upper layer of CH3COOH and CCl4 has a greater
concentration of HoAc and higher distribution coefficient so more of its solute were
distributed into the upper layer which the CCl4. While of CH3COOH and diethyl ether,
the concentration values of HoAc is greater in lower layer but still the amount of
distributed solute in the upper layer is much higher than the upper layer of CH3COOH
and CCl4. The HoAc is more soluble with diethyl ether and it will be better to use it as its
extraction solvent.



Eq (A.1) Distribution Constant (k):


Where: CAQ is the concentration of aqueous layer

CORG is the concentration of the organic layer

Sample Computations:

0.5 N CH3COOH and ether

Lower Layer:

𝑁= = 0.03𝑁

Upper Layer:

𝑁= = 0. 435𝑁

𝑘= = 14.5