The sample is injected into the moving phase, a gas or liquid stream which flows over the stationary phase, a porous solid or a solid support coated with a liquid. The various components of the sample are adsorbed (see adsorption) by the stationary phase at different rates, and separation occurs. Each component has a characteristic velocity relative to that of the solvent, and so can be identified. There are two main types of chromatography: liquid-solid and gas-liquid.
Liquid-solid chromatographyIn this, the solid is packed into a tube, the sample is added at the top, and a liquid eluant is allowed to flow through; the different fractions of effluent are collected. A variation of this method is ion-exchange chromatography, in which the solid is an ion-exchange resin from which the ions in the sample are displaced at various rates by the acid eluant. Other related techniques are paper chromatography (with an adsorbent paper stationary phase) and thin-layer chromatography (using a layer of solid adsorbent on a glass plate).
Gas-liquid chromatographyThis is the most sensitive type of chromatography. In it, a small vaporized sample is injected into a stream of inert eluant gas (usually nitrogen) flowing through a column containing nonvolatile liquid adsorbed on a powdered solid. The components are detected by such means as measuring the change in thermal conductivity of the effluent gas.
Related category• ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY
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