Steam Distillation Of Eugenol From Cloves Analysis Essay


1. To isolate eugenol and neutral product from cloves by using steam distillation

2. To characterize eugenol and natural product by gas chromatography spectroscopy (GC-MS) and IR spectroscopy


Eugenol, C10H12O2 is a one of the compound of phenylpropanoid family. It is a pale yellow oily compound that extracted from essential oil especially from cloves and bay leaf.

Figure 1 Molecular structure of eugenol

In this experiment, the eugenol(essential oil) and neutral product are isolated from cloves by using the technique of co-distillation with water, this process is also known as steam distillation. Both eugenol and neutral product are separated from water by acid-base extraction. The characterization of eugenol and neutral product are performed by using IR spectroscopy and gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (GC-MS).


Glassware and retort stands for steam distillation, distillation flask, mortar and pestle, round bottom flask, separatory funnel, Erlenmeyer flask, heating mantle


Cloves, tert-butyl methyl ether (BME), 6M HCl, 3% NaOH, saturated NaCl, pH paper, magnesium sulphate anhydrous


IR spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometer













Results and calculations:

Table 1: Weight of neutral product and eugenol

Weight of round bottom flask I


Weight of round bottom flask I + neutral compound


Weight of neutral product


Weight of round bottom flask II


Weight of round bottom flask II + eugenol


Weight of eugenol


Weight of cloves = 10.0000g

Percentage yield of neutral product (terpene) = 0.0157g / 10g x 100%

= 0.157%

Percentage yield of eugenol = 0.2348g / 10g x 100%

= 2.348%

Table 2: Significant stretches of standard and extracted eugenol and their respective values


Expected values (from table)

Extracted eugenol

Standard eugenol


(Rahimi, Ashnagar, & Nikoei, 2012)

Significant stretches

Wavenumber, v

O-H stretch





C=C stretch





Aromatic C=C stretch


1612.0cm-1, 1513.0cm-1,


1604.0cm-1, 1514.0cm-1, 1465.0cm-1

1608.0cm-1, 1513.8cm-1, 1459.5cm-1

C-O stretch


1268.0cm-1, 1235.0cm-1

1267.0cm-1, 1234.0cm-1



Table 3: Significant stretch of terpene and the respective value

Significant stretches

Wavenumber, v

C=C stretch


Table 4: Retention time at each significant peak in GC-MS spectrum


Standard eugenol

Isolated eugenol

Retention time (minute)




The amount of eugenol and neutral product obtained experimentally are 0.2348g and 0.0157g respectively. The composition contributed by eugenol is 2.348% whereas neutral product (usually is terpene) gives 0.157% of yield.

When the clove exposed to steam, the volatile terpene evaporated and condensed in the distillate. In the steam distillation process, both eugenol and terpene were obtained in the distillate. In order to separate the both compounds from others, tert­-butyl methyl ether (BME) was used in the separation. The aqueous layer was appears at upper layer while organic layer at lower layer since BME is less dense than water. The organic layer only contains eugenol and neutral product after the extraction with BME.

In order to isolate eugenol from the extract, sodium hydroxide was introduced to convert eugenol to form a sodium salt as shown in the following diagram.

Diagram 2 Sodium salt of eugenol

The sodium salt dissolved in the aqueous layer and hence eugenol was separated from the terpene in organic layer. The organic layer was partitioned and BME was removed by using rota-vapor and hence terpene was extracted.

For aqueous layer, concentrated hydrochloric acid was introduced to protonate sodium salt to form eugenol. A cloudy solution was formed during the addition of hydrochloric acid. This is because the eugenol formed from the acidification did not dissolve in aqueous layer. Finally, eugenol was extracted by using BME and the organic solvent was removed.

Magnesium sulphate anhydrous, a drying agent was used to remove all the water in the organic layer. Water in the organic compound could reduce its purity and hence the analytical characterization will be affected especially in IR spectroscopy and gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy.

From the IR spectrum of standard eugenol, the wavenumber shows: 3516cm-1 (O-H stretch), 1637cm-1 (C=C stretch), 1612cm-1, 1513cm-1, 1465cm-1 (aromatic C=C stretch), 1267cm-1, 1234cm-1 (C-O stretch). Compared to extracted eugenol, the spectrum showed: 3429cm-1(O-H stretch), 1638cm-1 (C=C stretch), 1604cm-1, 1514cm-1, and 1464cm-1 (aromatic C=C stretch), 1268cm-1, 1235cm-1 (C-O stretch).

Based on the GC-MS spectrum, standard eugenol shows the significant peak at retention time of 4.579 minute whereas isolated eugenol shows the important peak at retention time of 4.581 minute. Both isolated and pure eugenol shows the same retention time which indicates eugenol can be extracted from cloves.

Precaution steps:

1. Do not use separatory funnel point to anybody when releasing the vapour.



Flickr Tags: Isolation and Characterization of Eugenol,Eugenol from Cloves

Chemistry 212 Experiment #13 Isolation of Eugenol from Cloves 0.0798 g of eugenol was recovered from 3.0279 grams of cloves. This corresponds to a percent recovery of 2.64%: % Recovery = 0.0798 g of eugenol/3.0279 cloves used x 100 = 2.64% Analysis The calculated percent yield of 2.64% is relatively low. A possible explanation for this low yield may have arose from an inadequate amount of dichloromethane during the extraction method. The dichloromethane would help separate the eugenol and the water. Eugenol is more soluble in dichloromethane than in water, and it would be found in the organic layer with dichloromethane. It is possible that after evaporating off the dichloromethane, we possibly evaporated a portion of the eugenol because of the way we used the vacuum filter. Other than this possible low percent yield, the experiment proceeded as planned. There were no spills or other abnormal physical losses. Conclusion The results of this experimentation showed that 2.64% of oil could be recovered from cloves by stream distillation. The takeaway of this lab experiment was to learn the techniques of isolation of natural products, which included steam distillation, drying organic solution, and liquid/liquid extraction. It is possible that the ratio of the size of the glassware to the theoretical amount of eugenol (which was obtained from cloves in this experiment) is large which lead to a large percentage of the product on the sides of the glass apparatus. If this is the case of our low percent yield, then future experiments should include a larger sample of cloves for better-improved recovery. Otherwise it can be concluded that the specific sample of cloves used contains approximately 2.64% eugenol.

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