Definition - What does Chromatography mean?

Chromatography is a technique used to separate solutes or components of a mixture depending on the corresponding amounts of each component or solute distributed between mobile phase and contiguous stationary phase. The several components of the mixture move at different speeds that cause them to be separated. These separations are based on differential partitioning between stationary and mobile phases. Chromatography is either analytical or preparative. Analytical Chromatography is done usually with smaller extent of material and is for calculating the corresponding percentage of analytes in the mixture.

Petropedia explains Chromatography

In every Chromatography, there is a stationary and mobile phase. The mobile phase moves via stationary phase by picking up the components to be tested. The sample that has to be separated is placed on stationary phase which moves on the same direction like the mobile phase. The sample compound comes out of the system with the same rate as the mobile phase if it has no connection with the stationary phase. On the contrary, if the analyte has no connection with the mobile phase, it sticks directly to the stationary phase and never elutes. None of the outcomes are good.

In a well designed process of Chromatography, the chemist chooses both mobile and stationary phases that have some connection with analytes. The individual sample molecule first interacts with one phase and then with the other. The fraction of all analytes in each phase remains constant. The distribution ratio is required to be different for each analyte among the selected phases to be separated.

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