Chromatography Essay

756 words - 4 pages

As mentioned before, and according to Rosner, Marc Alan, Noll & Cheryl Kirk (2000), “Chromatography (from the word chroma that means “color”, and graph, that means “written”) is an important technique in analytical chemistry for separating colored substances into individual pigments”; pigment is a chemical that imparts color to materials, pigments are the ones that give most fabrics and inks their appearance by blending the pigments. This process was discoverd in 1901 by Mikhail Semenovich Tsvett a russian botanist, he was working on a method of separating a mixture of plant pigments. Chromatography is mostly composed by a stationary phase, usually a solid material such as chromatography ...view middle of the document...

The process is slow and it is noticeable how the solvent gradually rises through the paper defying gravity and carrying the spot substance making the mixtures separate into different colored spots. The resulting image with the separated colors is called a Chromatogram.
Depending on the compound in a mixture, the amount it travelled through the paper compared with the solvent is called the Rf value (Retardation Factor), and it can be calculated with the following formula: The Retardation Factor equals the relation between the distance travelled by the compound and the distance travelled by solvent (Clark, J. 2007)

Rf = Distance travelled by compound

Distance travelled by substance

According to Exploratium (2012) When the chromatography paper is touching the water during the experiment, the dried pigments present in the marker mark dissolve, the water or the solvent travels throught the paper by capillary action, “The tendency of liquids to rise or to be depressed in tubes of small diameter. Capillarity is due to the adhesion of the liquid to the sides of the tube, and to the surface tension of the liquid.” ("Capillary Action" 24 August 2009. HowStuffWorks.com). Water carries the pigments through its course at different rates depending on the size of the pigment molecule, or how strongly it is attached to the stationary phase. Paper chromatography represents not only a visual and fun experiment for students, but also an...

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