Computer-aided product design of alternative solvents based on phase equilibrium synergism in mixtures

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Abstract

A systematic methodology is proposed to find binary azeotropic mixtures as new alternative solvents for the extraction process of volatile aroma molecules widely used in perfume and cosmetic industries. We investigated the use of the reverse engineering approach with computer-aided product design (CAPD) instead of the traditional “trial and error” approach. First, the design problem is defined from the real functionalities of the classical solvents. The latter are translated into physicochemical properties and the corresponding boundary values for each property are defined. The reverse engineering method coupled with CAPD consists in using optimization techniques for building molecular structures that match as best as possible the complete set of target physicochemical properties, thus defining for each candidate a performance index. Property values are evaluated by using group contribution methods for each molecular structure generated by a CAPD tool or by using database values. Acknowledging the contradictory relationship between two selected physicochemical properties, that is, low boiling temperature and high flash point, which is rarely found in pure components, binary azeotropic mixtures were studied to enhance the global performance of solvent candidates. Dimethyl carbonate used as a solvent for the extraction of aroma molecules from plants exhibits between the boiling temperature and the flash point. It was selected as the key component for designing binary azeotropic mixtures. The global performance of the binary azeotropic mixtures was verified by means of calculations of the vapor–liquid and liquid–liquid equilibrium using modified universal functional activity coefficient (UNIFAC) method as a thermodynamic method.

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Rodriguez-Donis, I., Thiebaud-Roux, S., Lavoine, S., & Gerbaud, V. (2018). Computer-aided product design of alternative solvents based on phase equilibrium synergism in mixtures. Comptes Rendus Chimie, 21(6), 606–621. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crci.2018.04.005

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