Register to reply

Determine the concentration/purity of Caffeine in a precipitate

by tscottb
Tags: caffeine, determine, precipitate
Share this thread:
Jun29-11, 03:11 PM
P: 1
So, I've extracted a small amount of (hopefully) caffeine from coffee via solvent extraction with hexane. Quick note before i go on, I know that this is possibly not the best method - however I am trying to determine the best method of caffeine extraction via experiment.

Anyways, to determine what is the best method, I obviously need to know the purity of my sample. I would have thought that a titration would be best? Anyone else got any other ideas? And what could I titrate against. I had thought of HCl or H2SO4, but I'm not sure if there's anything that would indicate to me the the completion of the reaction, apart from say temperature change... maybe pKa?

Would anyone be able to point me in the right direction?
Phys.Org News Partner Chemistry news on
Video: How did life on Earth begin?
Now you can turn your inkjet printer into a chemistry lab and use it to diagnose diabetes
Advanced molecular 'sieves' could be used for carbon capture
Jun29-11, 04:39 PM
P: 51
I would use thin-layer chromatography to assess the purity; it's more informative and less time-consuming than titration, and requires less equipment than spectroscopic methods. It also indicates the number of other species in your caffeine sample, and you can compare the mobility of your sample to that of purchased pure caffeine to confirm that you're taking the right approach in purification. Another advantage to using TLC is that it can provide a guide for using column chromatography in batch purification.

Titration could maybe be useful in determining the concentration of caffeine after you've obtained a pure sample, but up to that point, I think it would just be confusing. Since there are probably other species in your sample, you can't assume the effects you see in any titration are due to the presence of caffeine.
Jun29-11, 04:42 PM
P: 51
Another useful thing to do would be to test the melting point of your sample, and compare to pure caffeine. And be sure to choose appropriate mobile and solvent phases for TLC.

Jun30-11, 12:17 AM
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
PF Gold
chemisttree's Avatar
P: 3,724
Determine the concentration/purity of Caffeine in a precipitate

If there are acids present in your coffee, and there always are, you are extracting those as well. They can form salts with caffeine. I would add some sodium carbonate to the coffee and extract that with the hexane. Much purer IMO.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
The atmosphere and purity? General Physics 4
[Chemistry] Determine the concentration of h2o2 by redox titration! Biology, Chemistry & Other Homework 5
Determine the impurity doping concentration Engineering, Comp Sci, & Technology Homework 0
Titration method to determine HCl concentration in a mixture Chemistry 7
The meaning of purity Quantum Physics 3