What is paper chromatography?

paper chromatography
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Paper chromatography definition

A chromatography mainly consists of two phases one is the mobile phase that is the mixture of substances that is to be separated dissolved in liquid or gas. Another is the stationary phase is the porous solid matrix through which the mobile phase percolates. the interaction which results in the separation of the compounds includes physiochemical principles like adsorption, partition, ion exchange, affinity, and molecular sieving. paper chromatography definition is the separation of compounds based on partition chromatography where the molecules get partition between the stationary phase and the mobile phase.

Use of Paper Chromatography

Originally this chromatography technique was first developed in the Cambridge school of workers. It was used for the separation of mixtures of organic substances like dyes and amino acids. Nowadays it is also used for the separation of cations of the inorganic substances.

Process of doing paper chromatography?

  1. Take a filter paper to apply a drop of the test solution and allow it to dry.
  2. Prepare a chamber with a developing solvent and close it to get the chamber saturated.
  3. Now places the paper in the chamber dipping the edge into the solvent.
  4. The liquid reaches the spot of the filter paper though capillary movement, as a result, various substances of the spot moves at different speeds along with the solvent.
  5. After the movement of the solvent to a suitable height 15-20 cm remove the filter paper and let it dry.
  6. various spots are then visualized after spraying suitable visualizing reagents like ninhydrin.
  7. The movement of the solvents is then calculated by using migration parameters called Rf.

Calculation of migration parameter Rf

The migration of the substance is expressed by Rf value. It is defined as the migration of the solute front relative to the solvent front.

The Rf value of a substance depends upon a number of factors like

  1. The type of solvent used
  2. The medium like the quality of paper used for the separation.
  3. the nature of the mixture
  4. The temperature
  5. The size of the chamber

Types of paper chromatography

Descending chromatography

In this, the solvent is allowed to travel down the paper. This is used for the separation of biochemical substances.

Ascending chromatography

The development of the paper is done by allowing the solvent to travel up the paper. This is also used for the separation of biochemical substances.

Ascending-Descending chromatography

This technique is the hybrid of the above two techniques. the upper part of the filter paper is folded over a glass rod allowing the ascending development to change over into the descending after crossing the glass rod.

Radial or circular paper chromatography

In this method, a circular filter paper is used. the test material is placed in the center. after drying the spot the paper is placed horizontally with the wick dipped into the solvent. the solvent then rises and moved to a distance and the components get separated in the form of the concentric circular zone.

Two-dimensional chromatography

Square or rectangle paper is used and the solvent is applied at the corner. the second run is performed at a right angle to the direction of the first run. this type of chromatography can be performed with identical solvent systems in both directions.

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