Chromatography - Equipment

The figure below will help you to follow along in our discussion.

The Column

Although there are other types of chromatography (e.g. paper and thin layer), most modern applications of chromatography employ a column. The column is where the actual separation takes place. It is usually a glass or metal tube of sufficient strength to withstand the pressures that may be applied across it. The column contains the stationary phase. The mobile phase runs through the column and is adsorbed onto the stationary phase. The column can either be a packed bed or open tubular column.

The Mobile and Stationary Phases

The mobile phase is comprised of a solvent into which the sample is injected. The solvent and sample flow through the column together; thus the mobile phase is often referred to as the "carrier fluid." The stationary phase is the material in the column for which the components to be separated have varying affinities. The materials which comprise the mobile and stationary phases vary depending on the general type of chromatographic process being performed.

  • On to basic operation
  • Back to where we started.