Extraction thimble

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An extraction thimble is a test-tube shaped laboratory item, made of cellulose, used in Soxhlet extractors to hold the material being subjected to solvent extraction.


Extraction thimbles are often made of pure cellulose, like high-quality alpha cellulose cotton linter. Their wall thickness is between 1-2 mm. Extraction thimbles have the form of a short and thick test tube, and most models do not have lid. Cellulose extraction thimbles can handle temperatures up to 120 °C.

Extraction thimbles can also be made from glass micro fibers without binder, when a more corrosive solvent is needed. These models have short-term temperature resistance up to 500 °C (borosilicate glass fiber) or 800 °C (quartz fiber), depending on the manufacturer. They are also more expensive and harder to find.


Extraction thimbles can be bought from lab suppliers and online.

DIY extraction thimble

A very simple extraction thimble can be made by wrapping the target material in filter paper. You can also use clean cotton, but made sure to compact it well, to prevent loose fibers from floating away and clogging the siphoning tube or ending up in the distillation flask.

Depending on what type of material you plan on extracting, a simple paper towel may be suitable as makeshift thimble.


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