What is chromatography?

can someone explain chromatography in clear and simple words.

SIMPLE WORDS PLZ (i don't want to be confused any more because i've already been confused by the books I read about chromatography) plz help

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Chromatographyis a way to seperate out different parts of a mixture. The idea is that you pass a fluid (either a gas or a liquid) down a long path, and the different molecules will move at different rates. THat's the long and short of it. So the molecules that move fastest get to the end first, and the slowest come out last. You seperate things by making them race, and similar chemicals will take a similar amount of time to finish the race.

    I'm assuming that you're getting confused by things like "solid phase" and "mobile phase" and "bind affinity" and such. The idea though is that you set up different types of obstacles depending on which things you want to win the race. Sometimes this is dine by using something with a lot of positive charges, so that things with negative charges will get stuck and the things that are neutral or positively charged will win the race. Sometimes you sort things by size, by using a gel as an obstable with a bunch of little pores in it: little guys get lost inside and the fat guy wins the race. With gases, you can just make the race really, really, really long, and the lightest parts will move the quickest while the hevy boys lag behind (this is a way that uranium is enriched for nuclear reactors and bombs).

    Source(s): I use chromatography for a living, purifying proteins that save lives and are injected directly into the bloodstream.
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  • 1 decade ago

    What Is It??

    Hello, everyone, and welcome to the wonderful world of chromatography! What is chromatography, you ask?? Well, quite simply, it is a broad range of physical methods used to separate and or to analyze complex mixtures. The components to be separated are distributed between two phases: a stationary phase bed and a mobile phase which percolates through the stationary bed.

    How Does It Work? Like Magic!

    A mixture of various components enters a chromatography process, and the different components are flushed through the system at different rates. These differential rates of migration as the mixture moves over adsorptive materials provide separation. Repeated sorption/desorption acts that take place during the movement of the sample over the stationary bed determine the rates. The smaller the affinity a molecule has for the stationary phase, the shorter the time spent in a column.

    So, Why Is It So Special?

    In any chemical or bioprocessing industry, the need to separate and purify a product from a complex mixture is a necessary and important step in the production line. Today, there exists a wide market of methods in which industries can accomplish these goals. Chromatography is a very special separation process for a multitude of reasons! First of all, it can separate complex mixtures with great precision. Even very similar components, such as proteins that may only vary by a single amino acid, can be separated with chromatography. In fact, chromatography can purify basically any soluble or volatile substance if the right adsorbent material, carrier fluid, and operating conditions are employed. Second, chromatography can be used to separate delicate products since the conditions under which it is performed are not typically severe. For these reasons, chromatography is quite well suited to a variety of uses in the field of biotechnology, such as separating mixtures of proteins.

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  • quepie
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    This is as simple as it gets:

    separating the things in a mixture.

    Here's a comparison: let's say you have a bowl of black and red marbles. To separate them, you can just pick out the black marbles and put them in another bowl. You were able to separate the marbles based on seeing the colors, right?

    Chromatography does the same thing, except instead of separating stuff by colors, it separates stuff based on another property, how much something likes something else: attraction. Let's go back to my marble example. The black marbles really like water, but the red marbles don't, so if you put a dish of water next to the bowl of marbles, the black marbles would jump into the dish of water (okay, not really, but go with me here). Voila! You separated the marbles.

    That's the best I could do. Hope it helps!

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  • violet
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    In clear and simple words:

    It is a way of separating things.

    There are lots and lots of different kinds of chromatography that use different properties to acheive different results, so it can be kind of complex to understand. Other people have already gone more indepth about it. I just wanted to give you a 7 word, all encompasing definition.

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  • 4 years ago

    Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) is similar to Paper except rather than using a stationery phase of paper it uses a thin layer of adsorbent (silica gel or cellulose) on a flat, unreactive substrate. It is therefore better as it runs faster and has clearer separations

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  • 1 decade ago

    I hope this is simple enough (it was hard to find something in layman's terms):

    "A method for separating and identifying the components of mixtures of molecules having similar chemical and physical properties."

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The separation of various complex mixtures through various mediums. There really is no easy way to explain it.

    Source(s): My cat
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  • 1 decade ago

    separation of a substance into its parts (such as black ink into the colors of red, blue, and yellow)

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