One important aspect regarding DMSO which needs attention and a significant amount of work are – Recycling. While using Dimethyl Sulfoxide as a solvent, the recycling factor can play a major role in reducing the production cost, thus making the process more feasible and pocket-friendly.


DMSO is well-known for its property for being a chemical compound that readily gets soluble in other solutions such as – water, toluene, benzene. This facilitates the break-down of the complex bonds that easily segregates it from the other impurities it is bonded with. Furthermore, polished methods such as extraction or reverse extraction can be put into use, followed by vacuum distillation to obtain the final refined product.


It can be easily understood by taking a simple example. Supposedly, we have a mixture of DMSO with inorganic salt which is to be separated for obtaining the chemical compound in its purest form for its multifarious utility. To do the needful, the first step is to use toluene to extract Dimethyl Sulfoxide. The extracted liquid is further processed by adding water into the mixture for accelerating the reverse extraction of DMSO. The obtained aqueous solution is subject to vacuum distillation at a previously decided low-pressure scale of (1.33~2.00) × 103Pa that helps us to acquire Dimethyl Sulfoxide at 99% purified concentration.

The above-mentioned example of extraction with help of an aromatic hydrocarbon gives us a detailed insight into the process that is to be executed. Additionally, a few other methods can also be taken up depending on the type of impurity and the available form of the mixture that needs to be dissociated. Some of these verified methods that are often used are salting out with potassium dihydrogen phosphate, adopting recycling by the means of methanol and the classic method of ethanol extraction. In situations where dealing with smaller quantities of refining could end up be a tiresome job, hence it is advised to gather and forward it to the industrial plant which is better equipped to recycle them efficiently along with other adulterated forms available with them.


Detailed procedure of DMSO recycling: (2 suggested methods)


  • The primitive technique that is mostly picked up is vacuum distillation. It has two essential conditions that need to be met to ensure both smooth functioning as well as obtaining desirable results. First and most importantly, the temperature should not cross 120 degrees at any circumstance to avoid unnecessary security problems and reduced recovery of product. Another aspect that needs to be carefully assessed is the PH value of the system which should be maintained at verified scale point 8 as suitable for decomposition of DMSO. It is to be simulated in a carbon steel container with a capacity of 2000 L consisting of 7-8 plates and the reflux ratio maintained at 3:2 which usually holds out 98-99% of the content.


  • The other lesser-known method of recovering is by resorting to semi-continuous vacuum distillation simultaneously in the ketoconazole production. It follows the following steps :
    1. The raw mixture is filled up to the one-third mark in the distillation reactor and heated up.
    2. Once the temperature reaches 60-degree celsius in the top column, the fixed reflux cooler and the vacuum system are turned on.
    3. After attaining a particular degree of vacuum and temperature in the channel, the top segment is controlled as the rectification column produces the semi-finished product.
    4. Gradually, the temperature shoots up to 80 degrees at which one hundred per cent Dimethyl Sulfoxide is yielded.
    5. At 110 degrees the heating process is halted and residues are released from the kettle.

    This is the scientific overview of the recycling process which has recently gained momentum across several industries including that of Dimethyl Sulfoxide.

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