Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Using a Gas Chromatograph: Identifying an Unknown Compound

Introduction

There are many different types of chromatography: paper, thin layer (TLC), liquid (LC), high-pressure liquid (HPLC), and gas (GC). Chromatography is applied in many fields. Biochemists use liquid chromatography to separate proteins; chemists use GC, TLC, and HPLC to identify organic compounds. Forensic scientists and other specialties use gas chromatography for drug tests, toxin screens, and environmental analysis.

All types of chromatography use the same principles that include a stationary phase and a mobile phase. The stationary phase is immobile on the column or the plate and the mobile phase travels from a start point to an end point. Compounds travel from the start to the end at a specific rate depending on their competing affinity for the mobile gas/liquid phase versus the stationary solid phase. Compounds adhere to the stationary phase through dipole interactions, dispersion forces, or ionic interactions.

Objectives

In this experiment, you will

  • Measure and analyze the retention time of each of six substances as they pass through a Vernier Mini GC.
  • Measure and analyze the retention time of an unknown mixture of the substances.
  • Identify the substances present in the unknown mixture based on retention times.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Experiment 26 from Organic Chemistry with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Organic Chemistry with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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