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Sulfolane - A Reusable Solvent With Numerous Applications

Private transportation is not a problem today and that is because Fuel is cheaper and has gotten easier to produce and extract. Almost every second person around owns a vehicle, even two or three at times and this again is not because he can afford the cars, but rather because he can afford to fuel them. Fuel then becomes one of the main factors behind an individual’s decision to purchase a vehicle. As of today, the prices of fuel and gas witness great shifts, depending on the amount of raw crude oil that is extracted all around the world.

Technically if there was no fuel, cars would run on electricity, but this would never happen since cars were invented to be driven by fuel. Even in the earlier days, running an automobile on petrol proved to be more efficient as compared with running it on steam or coal, not to mention the inconvenience that the latter two provided. Owing to the advancements in technology, today petrol and natural gas are the two primary agents employed in fueling the world.

What makes petrol and natural gas cheap enough to be used by the common people on a daily basis is the process that is used to extract them from their crude form. Without this process, it would be extremely challenging to yield them at such economical prices. Solvents help get the job done easily and in the most economical way possible. Sulfolane is one such solvent that literally drives the refinery business. Sulfolane is used to purify natural gas and petrol, eliminating the impurities and making the agents ready for use. Sulfolane was developed and widely implemented in the Sulfinol Process introduced by Shell in 1964, which removed H2S, CO2 and COS from natural gas making it purer and widely available. The main advantage of using Sulfolane previously and even today is that it is highly effective in purifying or separating aromatic hydrocarbons during liquid-liquid extraction. Having properties that allow it to be miscible in hydrocarbons and water enables Sulfolane to be used to purify a large variety of hydrocarbon based mixtures. Another characteristic that Sulfolane possesses is that it can be used in lower solvent/feed ratios making it cheap, effective and reusable because of its highly stable structure.

Sulfolane appears to be a clear, colorless liquid commonly used in the chemical industry as an extractive distillation solvent or reaction solvent. It is also used as a reaction solvent for the preparation of aromatic sulfonic acids, pyridines, isocyanates and medicines. Having such an efficient and productive solvent will certainly enable most refineries to cut down costs, but that entirely depends on the quality of Sulfolane supplied.

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Product Identification:
Synonym                                             :  Tetramethylene Sulfone; Sulfolane Anhydrous; Tetrahydrothiophene 1,1-dioxide
CAS No.                                            : 126-33-0
Molecular Weight                                : 120.17 g/mole
Molecular Formula                              : C4H8O2S

Physical and Chemical Properties:

Appearance                                       : Colorless or Canary lucid liquid
Assay (dry basis), % m/m                  : ≥ 99.5
Density (300C), kg/m3                      : 1260-1270
5% Distill off temperature, 0C            : ≥ 282
95% Distill off temperature, 0C          : ≤ 288
Theramal stability, mgSO2                  : ≤ 20
Moisture, % m/m                               : ≤ 3.0
Sulfur Content, % m/m                      : 26 – 27
2-Sulfolene, % m/m                          : ≤ 0.2
Isopropyl sulfolane aether, % m/m    : ≤ 0.2
Ash content, % m/m                         : ≤ 0.1

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Sulfolane - A Reusable Solvent With Numerous Applications


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