10 Pages

Experiment 32 Chromatography 2: Identification of a Single-Component Solvent by Gas Chromatography

The student will learn the operation of a gas chromatograph and will be able to identify each component of the instrument and should be able to describe its function.

Chromatography is a chemical and physical process that can be employed to separate the various components of a mixture into individual chemical compounds. Chromatography was originally described by Russian botanist Mikhail Zweitt, in the early 1900s, as a method of separating plant pigment mixtures such as chlorophylls and xanthophylls. He employed an active solid (finely divided calcium carbonate) packed into a rather large diameter glass column and a suitable solvent to elute the compounds of interest in different fractions of the added solvent. The name comes from the Greek chroma meaning color, and graphein meaning to write. The applications of chromatography have grown tremendously over the last century, primarily due to the development of several new types of techniques and the growing need of scientists to separate complex mixtures of chemical compounds.