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Extractions use two immiscible phases to separate a solute from one phase into the other. The distribution of a solute between two phases is an equilibrium condition described by partition theory. Boiling tea leaves in water extracts the tannins, theobromine, and caffeine out of the leaves and into the water. More typical lab extractions are of organic compounds out of an aqueous phase and into an organic phase.
Common extractants are arranged from ethyl acetate to water (ethyl acetate < acetone < ethanol < methanol < acetone:water (7:3) < ethanol:water (8:2) < methanol:water (8:2) < water) in increasing order of polarity according to the Hildebrand solubility parameter.
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