Home > Exhibition > Content
What are the different types of chromatography?
- Mar 29, 2016 -

What are the different types of chromatography?

There are many different ways of using chromatography. These are some of the best known:

Paper chromatography

A simple paper chromatography experiment showing how blobs of ink on paper separate into component colors when you dip the paper into water.


This is the "spot of ink on paper" experiment you often do in school (also the effect we described at the start when you get your papers wet). Typically you put a spot of ink near one edge of some filter paper and then hang the paper vertically with its lower edge (nearest the spot) dipped in a solvent such as alcohol or water. Capillary action makes the solvent travel up the paper, where it meets and dissolves the ink. The dissolved ink (the mobile phase) slowly travels up the paper (the stationary phase) and separates out into different components. Sometimes these are colored; sometimes you have to color them by adding other substances (called developers or developing fluids) that help you with identification.


Column chromatography

Instead of paper, the stationary phase is a vertical glass jar (the column) packed with a highly adsorbent solid, such as crystals of silica or silica gel, or a solid coated with a liquid. The mobile phase is pumped at high pressure through the column and splits into its components, which are then removed and analyzed. In liquid-column chromatography, the mixture being studied is placed at one end of the column and an extra added substance called an eluant is poured in to help it travel through. Thin-film chromatography is a variation of this technique in which the "column" is actually a film of glass, plastic, or metal coated with a very thin layer of adsorbent material


Gas chromatography

So far we've considered chromatography of liquids traveling past solids, but one of the most widely used techniques is a type of column chromatography using gases as the mobile phase. Gas chromatography is a largely automated type of chemical analysis you can do with a sophisticated piece of laboratory equipment called, not surprisingly, a gas chromatograph machine.


First, a tiny sample of the mixture of substances being studied is placed in a syringe and injected into the machine. The components of the mixture are heated and instantly vaporize. Next, we add a carrier (the eluant), which is simply a neutral gas such as hydrogen or helium, designed to help the gases in our sample move through the column. In this case, the column is a thin glass or metal tube usually filled with a liquid that has a high boiling point (or sometimes a gel or an adsorbent solid). As the mixture travels through the column, it's adsorbed and separates out into its components. Each component emerges in turn from the end of the column and moves past an electronic detector (sometimes a mass spectrometer), which identifies it and prints a peak on a chart. The final chart has a series of peaks that correspond to all the substances in the mixture. Gas chromatography is sometimes called vapor-phase chromatography (VPC) or gas-liquid partition chromatography (GLPC).


Best regards,



Shaoxing ALWSCI Technologies Co., Ltd.

(Chromatography/ Consumables & Supplies)