Sunday, September 12, 2010
Chromatography is Just a Metaphor for Stains and Skid Marks
Anyway, the phenomenon gets interesting if there are two or more colored substances in the solution which form two separate rings. In theory you can dry the filter and cut the paper up, isolating the two substances. Voilà, chromatography!
In paper chromatography, the paper is what's called a stationary phase and the water is the mobile phase. Analytes flit between the two phases to different extents-whence the separation. Nowadays there are a ton of different chromatographies--column chromatography, thin layer chromatography, high pressure chromatography, gas chromatography, chiral chromatography--but they all rely on similar principles.