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Science and Practice of Liquid-Liquid Extraction 2 Volumes edited by J.D. Thornton. Oxford University Press UK (1992). 1039 pp. (total)

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Book Reviews
Science and Practice of Liquid-Liquid Extraction, 2 Volumes, edited by J.D.
Thornton. Oxford University Press, UK (1992). 1039 pp. (total). ISBN
0-19-856236-5 and 0-19-856237-3.
This is a multi-author work edited by J.D Thornton, Emeritus Professor of
Chemical Engineering at the University of Newcastle upon Q n e . The price of the
combined 2 volume set is E108, and the individual titles are:
Volume I: Phase Equilibria; Mass Transfer and Interfacial Phenomena; Extractor
Hydrodynamics, Selection, and Design (603 pp.).
Volume 2: Process Chemistry and Extraction Operations in the
Hydrometallurgical, Nuclear, Pharmaceutical, and Food Industries (436 pp.).
It is interesting to note that none of the 13 chapters were written by the editor.
The editorial task may have been sufficient work in itself, but it would have been
pleasing to have had at least a short chapter from one of the eminent workers in
the field. What would have been particularly useful would have been a short
introductory chapter, plus literature review and extensive bibliography. This
would have provided a good introduction to the overall work and effectively set
the scene for the topics to follow. However, Chapter 5 in Volume 2 does
summarise new developments and some future directions.
The authors are well chosen, and the topics that are covered are appropriately
in-depth and well written. The editorial process has obviously been extensive and
thorough to make this book a coherent work. However, most chapters (except the
chapter on pharmaceutical applications in Volume 2/Chapter 3) seem to present
the information and then just end! A concluding page (or paragraph) detailing
future work and directions would have been a useful rounding off.
In Volume 2, it would have been better to put Chapter 5 first. Several
subsequent topics dealt with by Weatherley as “Current Developments“, e.g.
nuclear, minerals, biotechnology, etc., are covered in more depth in the preceding
four chapters of this volume. The chapter by Weatherley could then have provided
a good introduction for this volume, preceding the in-depth discussion of each
In Volume 1, Chapters 6 to 8 provide a unified approach to counter-current
extractor design having all been written by the same authors (Pratt and Stevens).
It might have been better to have Chapters 1 to 5 also authored by one person.
However, the advantages of using individual experts in particular areas is obvious,
and they have done an excellent job in each case.
The book is well presented, coherently edited, and I did not find many
typographical errors. If only some of the other multi-authored works were as well
prepared! It will be an essential purchase for libraries and by researchers
specialising in liquid-liquid extraction. It will be a valuable reference source for
research students and for undergraduates (although not written for this latter
group). There is much to recommend it, and only minor points for argument. As
stated by Pratt and Stevens in Volume 1, page 343: “Liquid-liquid extraction ...
ranks as second in importance only to distillation”. This book will be a valuable
addition to the chemical engineering literature - providing both a reference source
and a direction for future work in this field. For its size and coverage it also
represents excellent value for money.
Martyn S Ray
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1992, university, liquid, 1039, science, volume, thornton, tota, practice, extraction, edited, pres, oxford
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