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Chromatography Can Separate!


Source Institutions

    Mount Holyoke College

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Chromatography Can Separate!

In this chemistry activity, learners use thin layer chromatography to determine the molecular composition of different markers. First, they use pure rubbing alcohol as the liquid phase, then experiment with mixtures of alcohol and water to see which works best. Different black markers can be tried to see how their components compare. A quantitative measure of the "retention factor" is calculated to relate the distance traveled by the spot to the distance traveled by the mobile phase. A later experiment has learners try to identify an unknown ink sample by comparing it to known samples, and then opens it up to artistic pattern-making using chromatography and markers. The activity is written to be part of a kit, but the kit is not required.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan

Language:
English

Materials List (per student)


  • 1
 piece
 of 
aluminum
 foil
  • 1
 large
 circular 
filter 
paper
  • 7
 pieces
 of
 TLC
 plate 
paper
  • 1
 TLC 
plate
 labeled 
cookie
 jar,
 Cat
  • 1
 graduated
 cylinder
  • 2
 plastic 
pipettes: 
1 
labeled 
alcohol, 
1 
labeled 
water
  • 4
 labeled 
black 
pens
 (1‐4)
  • 1
 ruler
  • 6
 markers
  • 1
 beaker
  • 1
 TLC 
plate
 labeled 
EXAMPLE,
 6 
dots
  • tape
  • water

Subjects


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories


  • Arts and Crafts
  • Crime Science

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

  • Shaw, Maisie; Gomez, Maria

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program, Mount Holyoke College, ©2010

Funding Source:

  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.

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