You think you know mixtures, but what some people think of as a mixture may not be a real one, at least if you go by its scientific definition.
When two or more substances combine without losing their chemical identity, it’s called a mixture. Even if the mixture has a different boiling or melting point than its components, its chemical properties won’t change.
Some examples include sugar and water, blood, air, and ethanol in water. Now, if you want to separate mixtures, you can use chromatographic techniques like liquid chromatography.
Here, we’ll discuss what liquid chromatography is and some of its popular uses.
First Things First: What Is Liquid Chromatography?
Liquid chromatography involves separating the components of a mixture dissolved into a fluid. Now, the term “fluid” could also refer to a gas. Hence, you have gas-liquid chromatography.
There are two phases to remember: the mobile phase (fluid) and the stationary phase, which is the fixed material. Elution is the process where the sample is carried through the stationary phase. During this process, the components separate, which researchers record for analysis.
As its name implies, liquid chromatography uses a liquid mobile phase. The separation of components occurs inside a column.
Meanwhile, HPLC or high-performance liquid chromatography uses high pressure instead of gravity to pass the mobile phase through the column. In analytical chemistry, HPLC is preferred because it significantly reduces the separation time. You can learn more about HPLC and HPLC vials by visiting www.chromtech.com.
Liquid Chromatography Applications
Both liquid chromatography and HPLC are used in a wide range of industries. Here are three notable examples.
1. Medicine and Pharmaceuticals
Do you ever wonder why newborns get their heels pricked? If a newborn has a hidden condition where early treatment is possible, it will appear in the blood spot test.
One technique used for this is, you guessed it, liquid chromatography. In the pharmaceutical industry, drug development often requires chromatographic techniques to separate chemicals that could have therapeutic properties.
2. Food Industry
If you look at some food packaging, you’ll notice how brands list their products’ vitamin and mineral content.
Of course, they can’t just print whatever they want. Food companies need to determine the exact percentages of ingredients. They use liquid chromatography and other analytic techniques for quality control and transparency.
3. Education and Research
Have you ever taken a life science course? If you have laboratory classes, there’s a good chance you’ll see a liquid chromatography setup.
Most schools and universities have chromatography equipment. Research universities, in particular, would have HPLC systems.
Do You Want to Learn More About Chromatographic Techniques?
Now that you know some applications of liquid chromatography, are you interested in learning more about the topic?
If yes, don’t hesitate to research online. Tons of resources can help you understand various chromatographic techniques and their applications.
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