Molecule of the Week

Sulfolane

April 26, 2010

Sulfolane, or more formally, tetrahydrothiophene-1,1-dioxide, has been used as an industrial solvent for almost 60 years. Its combination of a polar sulfone groups and a nonpolar hydrocarbon chain make it miscible with liquids ranging from water to hydrocarbons. Sulfolane is used for removing aromatics from saturated hydrocarbons and in liquid–vapor extractions such as the purification of natural gas.