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Supercritical Fluid (SCF) Systems

How it works

Supercritical Fluid (SCF) technology works! With today's innovative, easy-to-use systems from Applied Separations, your idea will be tomorrow's green process! No petroleum solvents and no toxic residue.


Applied Separations have built thousands of SFE systems. Get the benefit of their experience. You have the ideas, they have the SFE systems - from conception to production, from laboratory systems to pilot plants to large scale production facilities. Applied Separations have been involved in hundreds of uses for supercritical fluids. Discuss your ideas with us and Applied Separations will evaluate your samples for free.

One of Applied Separations' most popular product lines, the Spe-ed SFE series offers a variety of options for educational, analytical and research extraction needs...

What Is Supercritical CO2?

Carbon dioxide is in its supercritical fluid state when both the temperature and pressure equal or exceed the critical point of 31°C and 73 atm (see diagram). In its supercritical state, CO2 has both gas-like and liquid-like qualities, and it is this dual characteristic of supercritical fluids that provides the ideal conditions for extracting compounds with a high degree of recovery in a short period of time.


By controlling or regulating pressure and temperature, the density, or solvent strength, of supercritical fluids can be altered to simulate organic solvents ranging from chloroform to methylene chloride to hexane. This dissolving power can be applied to purify, extract, fractionate, infuse and recrystallize a wide array of materials.


Because CO2 is non-polar, a polar organic co-solvent (or modifier) can be added to the supercritical fluid for processing polar compounds. By controlling the level of pressure/temperature/modifier, supercritical CO2 can dissolve a broad range of compounds, both polar and non-polar.

It's Easy Being Green!


Carbon dioxide is one of the most commonly used supercritical fluids. CO2 is:

  • Safe

  • Inexpensive

  • Readily available

  • An ideal substitute for many hazardous and toxic solvents


CO2 is not produced in the the SCF process. Existing CO2 is merely used. There is NO addition to any greenhouse effect.


A few examples include:

  • Extracting herbs, spices and fragrances

  • Extraction of pharmaceuticals / nutraceuticals

  • Extracting nicotine and caffeine

  • Extraction from foods

  • Dyeing textiles

  • Cleaning medical implants

  • Making nanoparticles

  • Drying aerogels

  • Cleaning wafers

  • Developing photoresists

  • Extraction from polymers

  • Impregnation of biopolymers


The basic supercritical pilot plant is a "no frills" caster-mounted system for the budgetminded. You, as the user, determine the size of the system. Although it may be basic, the same high quality workmanship and safety seen in the other system is also included here...

Not all laboratories are the same, and neither are all projects. Applied Separations will work with you to pin-point your needs and determine the feasibility of your project...

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Applied Separations not only offers SCF instruments, but they also offer a full line of accessories that customize your SCF instruments to fulfill the research goals in your laboratory...