Isolation & Identification of the Major Constituent of Clove Oil with Steam Distillation

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Isolation & Identification of the Major Constituent of Clove Oil with Steam Distillation

The purpose of this laboratory experiment was to isolate and characterize clove oil in order to understand how to isolate organic compounds with high boiling points, how to perform and interpret qualitative tests for organic compound functionality, and to continue to learn how to perform and interpret IR spectrometry. Steam distillation was used in order to prevent the organic compound from decomposing at temperatures approaching the compound's boiling point.

The essential oil of a plant is a mixture of volatile, water-insoluble components that exhibits the odor and other characteristics of the plant. In this experiment the essential oils of clove will be isolated. Cloves contain about 16% by mass of the essential oil, a pale yellow liquid with a sweet, spicy aroma. Clove oil is unusual among essential oils in having only one major component, which comprises about 85% of the oil. Essential oils are nearly always isolated by steam distillation, in which steam forced through the plant material vaporizes the essential oil which is then condenses into a receiver along with water from the condensed steam. Clove oil was separated from the distillate by extraction with dichloromethane, and its major component was then separated from minor components by extraction with aqueous sodium hydroxide. The major component of clove oil was a strong-smelling liquid that has the molecular formula C10H12O2. Below are some of the possible structures for the component.

Discussion of Results
1.002 g of fresh whole cloves was weighed but the use of a mortar and pestle to grind them to a fine powder was unnecessary as a better yield was given when larger chunks of clove were used. The cloves were a dark brown color with a tree bark-like texture and a distinct cinnamon odor. The distillation apparatus was assembled using a using a 10-mL round bottom flask, condenser and a...
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