Distilling Oil

Spent the morning and most of the afternoon distilling essential oils with the help of John Gates, a water science researcher in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Using a sample of many plants from my backyard (pine needles, mint, lavender, green onions, grass), the material was boiled in water, condensed into an oil/water mixture, and separated using a centrifuge. From 500ml of material we extracted about 100ul of oil!

Distilling the vaporized water/oil mixture and separating in the centrifuge

The resulting oil/water mixture in a centrifuge tube (left) and the extracted oil (right)