As mentioned below, it will be very difficult to get 100% purity of each component due to azeotrope problems. However, if the ratio of hexane to ethyl acetate is large, it might be practical for you to convert ethyl acetate to its salt (CH3CO2M: very simple process: de-esterify). With that, hexane can be distilled cleanly under normal condition.
We at our University, did some Hexane/ethyl acetate recycling successfully wasn’t able to get a complete separation (due to azeotrope) and limitations of distillation column, but it was used in that ratio’s by PI’s. We still have acetone, alcohol and other items successfully done. DEQ, had no issues doing it, rather they were complimentary of our program. If interested, Jake I can share with you.
Jake – you should be able to distill and reuse the hexane and ethyl acetate. The boiling points are significantly different (68C and 77C) so they’ll come off separately. This is NOT illegal treatment, but the waste must be managed as hazardous UNTIL it has been reclaimed. As a large generator, you will need to run a batch at least once every 90 days. Anything that isn’t reclaimed will still be regulated as hazardous waste, including your still bottoms.
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Our university just recently became a large quantity waste generator. We have been trying to find ways to reduce/reuse/recycle. One of our largest wastes is from the organic chemists. The waste in question is hexane/ethyl acetate. Has anyone heard of a way to separate these two and reuse them?
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