Chromatography is a separation technique used to separate the components of a mixture based on their physical and chemical properties. There are several types of chromatography, but the basic steps are similar. Here’s a general procedure for carrying out a simple chromatography experiment:
- Chromatography paper or filter paper
- Mixture to be separated
- Solvent (e.g. water, alcohol, or acetone)
- Glass jar or beaker
- Paper clip or tape
- Draw a line near the bottom of the chromatography paper using a pencil and ruler. The line should be long enough to accommodate all the components of the mixture.
- Apply a small spot of the mixture to be separated onto the line using a dropper or a capillary tube. Make sure to apply the mixture as a small, concentrated spot.
- Place the chromatography paper into a glass jar or beaker that contains a small amount of the solvent. The solvent should be in contact with the bottom of the paper but not touching the spot.
- Cover the jar or beaker with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent the solvent from evaporating.
- Wait for the solvent to travel up the paper and separate the components of the mixture. The rate of travel will depend on the solvent used and the properties of the mixture components.
- Once the solvent has traveled about two-thirds of the way up the paper, remove the paper from the jar or beaker and let it dry.
- Once the paper is dry, the separated components can be visualized by exposing the paper to an appropriate reagent or by shining ultraviolet light on it.
Note: If the components are not well separated, the experiment may need to be repeated with a different solvent or with a different type of chromatography paper.
In summary, chromatography is a useful technique for separating the components of a mixture based on their physical and chemical properties. By carefully selecting the solvent and the chromatography paper, and by following the steps outlined above, it is possible to separate and identify the individual components of a mixture.