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Liquid-Liquid Separators

Zaiput Flow Technologies’ patented liquid-liquid separators enables liquid-liquid extraction/separation in flow. Our devices exploit membrane-based separation and implement an innovative on-board pressure control system to ensure that proper operating conditions are always met.

The presence of the on-board pressure controller practically decouples the operation of the separator from downstream operations, making the separator a truly modular unit. As a result, our separators greatly simplify applications ranging from multistep synthesis to multistage countercurrent extraction.

Additionally, our separators are rated for high pressure use allowing in-line separation in pressurized flow systems. Finally, our devices have a broad chemical compatibility, easy maintenance and come at an affordable price.

    Our integrated liquid-liquid separators:
  • decouple the liquid flow control from the separation (no need to manually adjust pressure drops, plug & play operation)
  • have excellent chemical compatibility (wetted parts ETFE, PFA and PTFE)
  • allow operation under pressure (300 psi/2 MPa) and in-line
  • have a low separation pressure differential (suitable for the majority of aqueous/organic pairs)

Images of our SEP10:

Liquid-Liquid Separator/Extractor

Liquid-Liquid Separator/ExtractorLiquid-Liquid Separator/Extractor

See a demo of our separator in action!

Separator’s Use. The separators have one inlet for the mixed stream and two outlets for the organic and aqueous phase respectively. Its use does not need any preparation or calibration.

The separating membranes are available in different pore sizes to cover a wide range of applications.

Consult Zaiput’s team for your separation needs.

If the video does not play properly, click here to see our demo.

If your application requires different specifications than those of our current products, please contact us for a custom solution.

Product Image Typical Total Flow Rate (ml/min) Max Operating Pressure (MPa) Standard Membrane Pore Size (μm) Dimensions (mm)
SEP10 0-12 2 1 71 x 28.8 x 76.5
SEP200 200 2 1 contact us

Wetted materials: PFA, ETFE, PTFE

Ports ¼-28 flat bottom

Further information may be found in the instruction manual.

Membrane-Based Separation

Membrane-based separation relies on accurately controlling the pressure on each side of the membrane so that an incoming wetting phase can flow through the membrane pores while the non-wetting phase is retained.

Membrane-based separation has been described several years ago and it has been implemented using cumbersome pressure control systems that adjust pressure drops downstream of the membrane (see figure above). This approach has also been used to develop commercial products. While separation can be achieved with this type of setup, any change in flow rate (either a disturbance in the system or the need to run the reaction under different conditions) requires a new and tedius adjustment of the downstream pressure drops. Additionally, it is practically impossible to implement several in-line separation steps as it is extremely difficult to balance all of the pressure events during transient flow. Zaiput Flow Technologies' separator incorporates, in one device, a pressure controller that tunes the separation conditions for you. Now your separation unit becomes fully independent of both downstream operations and flow rate selection (figure below).


The separator’s performance depends on the specific liquid-liquid pair to separate. The lower the interfacial tension between the two fluids, the more challenging the separation.

In order to evaluate the resilience of our separators to disturbances in the system, we used the following experimental set up:

A two-phase flow (of an aqueous and an organic) is fed to a separator with a hydrophobic membrane. Incomplete separation can result in either retention of organic in the aqueous phase or in breakthrough of water through the membrane with the organic phase.

We simulated downstream operations or disturbances by setting a value of back pressure on the outlet of the organic stream.

The results of experiments with either hexane/water and ethyl acetate/water are shown here (where R represents the percentage of retention and B the % of breakthrough):

The results show that a simple separation (hexane/water - interfacial tension 50*10-3 N/m) runs with complete separation at all of the tested total flow rates, with different ratios of flow rates, and at different levels of disturbances created in the system (with increasing back pressure on the organic side).

The separator has an excellent performance also when challenged with a pair of liquids with very low interfacial tension (ethyl acetate/water - interfacial tension 6.8*10-3 N/m). Under these conditions, the separator provided complete separation at different total flow rates and with different ratios of flow rates but tolerated fewer disturbances to achieve complete separation in a single step.


Scientific research articles using our separator:

Liquid-Liquid Separation

Andrea Adamo, Rachel L. Beingessner, Mohsen Behnam, Jie Chen, Timothy F. Jamison, Klavs F. Jensen, Jean-Christophe M. Monbaliu, Allan S. Myerson, Eve M. Revalor, David R. Snead, Torsten Stelzer, Nopphon Weeranoppanant, Shin Yee Wong, Ping Zhang, On-demand continuous-flow production of pharmaceuticals in a compact, reconfigurable system Science April 2016.

L Osorio-Planes, C Rodríguez-Escrich, MA Pericas, Removing the superfluous: a supported squaramide catalyst with a minimalistic linker applied to the enantioselective flow synthesis of pyranonaphthoquinones Catalysis Science & Technology Mar 2016.

Lorenzo Di Marco, Dr. Morgan Hans, Prof. Lionel Delaude and Dr. Jean-Christophe M. Monbaliu, Continuous-Flow N-Heterocyclic Carbene Generation and Organocatalysis Chem. Eur. J. Feb 2016.

Javier Guerra, David Cantillo and C Oliver Kappe, Visible-Light Photoredox Catalysis using a Macromolecular Ruthenium Complex: Reactivity and Recovery by Size-Exclusion Nanofiltration in Continuous Flow Catal. Sci. Technol. Feb 2016.

Nicolas Lamborelle, Justine F Simon, Andre LUXEN and Jean-Christophe Monbaliu, Continuous-Flow Thermolysis for the Preparation of Vinylglycine Derivatives Org. Biomol. Chem. Nov 2015.

Irina Sagamanova, Carles Rodríguez-Escrich, István Gábor Molnár, Sonia Sayalero, Ryan Gilmour, and Miquel A. Pericàs, Translating the Enantioselective Michael Reaction to a Continuous Flow Paradigm with an Immobilized, Fluorinated Organocatalyst ACS Catal. Sept 2015.

Leibfarth FA, Johnson JA, and Jamison TF, Scalable synthesis of sequence-defined, unimolecular macromolecules by Flow-IEG Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Aug 2015.

Chunhui Dai, David R. Snead, Ping Zhang, and Timothy F. Jamison, Continuous-Flow Syn and Purification of Atropine with Sequential In-Line Separations of Structurally Similar Impurities J. Flow Chem. July 2015.

Steffen Glöckner, Duc N. Tran, Richard J. Ingham, Sabine Fenner, Zoe E. Wilson, Claudio Battilocchio and Steven V. Ley, The rapid synthesis of oxazolines and their heterogeneous oxidation to oxazoles under flow conditions Org. Biomol. Mol. Oct 2014.

Trevor A. Hamlin, Gillian M. L. Lazarus, Christopher B. Kelly, and Nicholas E. Leadbeater, A Continuous-Flow Approach to 3,3,3-Trifluoromethylpropenes: Bringing Together Grignard Addition, Peterson Elimination, Inline Extraction, and Solvent Switching. Org. Process Res. Dev. Aug 2014.

Andrea Adamo, Patrick L Heider, Nopphon Weeranoppanant, and Klavs F. Jensen, Membrane-Based, Liquid-Liquid Separator with Integrated Pressure Control. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. July 2013.

Gas-Liquid Separation

Everett J. O’Neal, Chang Ho Lee, Julian Brathwaite, and Klavs F. Jensen, Continuous Nanofiltration and Recycle of an Asymmetric Ketone Hydrogenation Catalyst ACS Catal. March 2015.

Reference to separator’s theory:

Kralj, J. G.; Sahoo, H. R.; Jensen, K. F., Integrated continuous microfluidic liquid-liquid extraction. Lab Chip.2007, 7, (2), 256-263.

Reference to examples of use of liquid–liquid separators:

Sahoo, H. R.; Kralj, J. G.; Jensen, K. F., Multistep Continuous-Flow Microchemical Synthesis Involving Multiple Reactions and Separations. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, (30), 5704-5708.

Cervera-Padrell, A. E.; Morthensen, S. T.; Lewandowski, D. J.; Skovby, T.; Kiil, S.; Gernaey, K. V., Continuous Hydrolysis and Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation of an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Intermediate Using a Miniscale Hydrophobic Membrane Separator. Org. Process Res. Dev. 2012, 16, (5), 888-900.

Product Product Image Flow Rate
0-200 ml/min
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0-12 ml/min
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PFA Replacement Diaphragm for SEP200
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3 Replacement Membranes (0.5μm, SEP200)
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3 Replacement Membranes (1.0μm, SEP200)
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3 Replacement Membranes (0.5μm, SEP10)
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3 Replacement Membranes (1.0μm, SEP10)
Contact us for pricing
PFA Replacement Diaphragm for SEP10
Contact us for pricing