My experiment c o l o r c h r o m a t o g r a p h y
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My Experiment C o l o r C h r o m a t o g r a p h y. Presented By Kelsey Leigh Campbell Date: 3 October 2012. What is Chromatography?. Chromatography is a technique for separating mixtures into their components in order to analyze, identify, purify, and/or quantify the mixture or components.

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My Experiment C o l o r C h r o m a t o g r a p h y

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My ExperimentColorChromatography

Presented By

Kelsey Leigh Campbell

Date: 3 October 2012

What is Chromatography?

Chromatography is a technique for separating mixtures into their components in order to analyze, identify, purify, and/or quantify the mixture or components.

Uses for Chromatography

  • Analyze

  • Identify

  • Purify

  • Quantify

Chromatography is used by scientists to

Uses for Chromatography

  • Pharmaceutical Company

  • Hospital

  • Law Enforcement

  • Environmental Agency

  • Manufacturing Plant

Real-life examples of uses for chromatography

Chromatography Defined

Detailed Definition:

Chromatography is a laboratory technique that separates components within a mixture by using the differential affinities of the components for a mobile medium and for a stationary absorbing medium through which they pass

Chromatography Illustration

Types of Chromatography

  • Liquid Chromatography

  • Gas Chromatography

  • Paper Chromatography

  • Thin-Layer Chromatography

Principles of Paper Chromatography

  • Capillary Action – the movement of liquid within the spaces of a porous material due to the forces of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension.

  • Solubility – the degree to which a material (solute) dissolves into a solvent.

Overview of the Experiment


To introduce students to the principles and terminology of chromatography and demonstrate separation of the dyes in Sharpies with paper chromatography

Time Required

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Experiment: 45 minutes

Materials List

  • 6 strips of paper or filter

  • 6 beakers or jars

  • All strips must be exactly the same size (e.g., 3 cm × 9 cm)

  • Different color Sharpies

  • Volumetric measuring devices

  • Water

  • Isopropanol

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Tape


  • Prepare 15 ml of the following isopropanol solutions in appropriately labeled beakers:

    • 0%, 20%, 50%, 70%, 100%

  • Cut 5 strips of filter paper

  • Draw a line 1 cm above the bottom edge of the strip with the pencil

  • Label each strip with its corresponding solution (color and concentration)

  • Place a spot from each marker (or other dye sample) on your starting line

Developing the Chromatograms

  • Place the strips in the beakers

  • Make sure the solution does not come above your start line

  • Keep the beakers covered

  • Let strips develop until the ascending solution front is about 2 cm from the top of the strip

  • Remove the strips and let them dry

Observing the Chromatograms

  • Observe how some of the dyes are made up of more than one color

  • Observe how spots of the same color separated in low concentrations of alcohol compared to higher concentrations

  • Observe when spots of different colors first started separating in the different concentrations

0 %

20 %

50 %

70 %

100 %

Black and Blue Separations

  • Black Dye

    • Dyes Separated: black and purple

    • Not soluble in low concentrations of isopropanol

    • Partially soluble in concentrations >20%

  • Blue Dye

    • Dye Separated: blue

    • Not very soluble in low concentrations

    • Completely soluble in high concentrations

Green and Red Separations

  • Green Dye

    • Dyes Separated: Blue and Yellow

    • Blue: Soluble in concentrations > 20%

    • Yellow: Soluble in concentrations > 0%

  • Red Dye

    • Dyes Separated: Red and Yellow

    • Yellow: Soluble in low concentrations and less soluble in high concentrations

    • Red: Slightly soluble in low concentrations and more soluble in concentrations > 20%

Alternative Experiments

  • Test Different Samples

    • Markers, pens, highlighters

    • Food pigments (Skittles or M&M’s)

  • Test Different Solvents

    • Other alcohols: methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol

  • Test Different Papers

    • Coffee Filters

    • Paper towels

    • Typing Paper



  • The idea for this experiment came from

  • Scientific Uses for Chromatography

  • Everyday Uses for Chromatography

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