Omar glass of water or coffee would fall











Omar Karzoun

Ms. Lara Masri

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Chemistry 201 honors

January 23, 2018

Paper Chromatography














As a student,
one of the worst incidents that might happen to me is that a glass of water or
coffee would fall into my paper that I would be using to study for the final
exam. Scientists provided these students with a very helpful process that might
make this horrible incident a little more fun. Chromatography is a scientific method
in which different mixtures are separated from each other based on their
attraction with the mobile and stationary phase. This would therefore lead to
part of the substance to be closer to the mobile phase while the rest moved a
little bit further into the stationary phase. This scientific process has
several real-life applications, that might be even used in desperate situations.
There are several distinct types of chromatography, which include gas, liquid,
thin-layer, paper and much more. This research paper will be only focusing on
paper chromatography, as out of the types stated above and much more, paper chromatography
attracted my attention the most. As the amount of times I recall spilling water,
oil, coffee, or any drink in general on my worksheet is massive and I will
finally gain something from spilling on my paper by having some fun and
identifying the several compounds that make up my drink. Out of most other chromatography
types, the paper chromatography method is one of the least expensive and most
rapid, efficient and productive types out of them all. This type of chromatography
is used for identifying the compounds that make up the mixture, which relates
to my second point which is the fact that compounds may be discovered as well. In
addition to that, such as investigation #10, chromatography could be used to
solve a crime case or any investigation in general. Paper Chromatography like
most other types of chromatography, depend on a liquid or gas mobile phase which
called also be refereed as the solvent and a solid or liquid stationary phase,
where the substance investigated will be supported by.

chromatography is considered to be one of the easiest if not the easiest chromatography
techniques, as it starts by pouring a small amount of the mobile phase into the
solvent, then a small dot of one or more substances would be labelled almost at
the bottom of the filter paper, or the stationary phase. More than one substances
could be added to compare two different mixtures’ polarities and their intermolecular
forces strength. After drying the paper out for a while, place it into the
beaker with the mobile phase, but make sure to not make the dot on the filter
paper interact with the solvent. Close the beaker with a lid to create a more
accurate lab as a small distance difference may play a critical role in for
example identifying the compound or differentiating between the two different compounds
from each other. When the mobile phase reaches the top of the filter paper,
remove it and make it dry for a little while. Make sure to mark where the
solvent stopped in order to be able to calculate its Rf value, which is
calculated by dividing the distance moved by the substance over the distance
moved by the solvent. As stated above, paper chromatography and most other
types of chromatography as well help solve cases involving clues left behind,
where the substance could be separated to its pure self to identify who the criminal
is. For instance, Officer O’Melveny found a note left after the crime scene which
had the word DIE written on it. It was written with a black pen and when the
entire building was searched, 5 different black pens were found. After giving
these materials to the detectors, they used paper chromatography to find which
pen matches the pen used to write the note with. Out of the 5 pens, two of them
were insoluble, meaning they didn’t dissolve in water, whereas the note was
able to dissolve in water, therefore, two out of the five men can easily be
eliminated. The three remaining pens were different than each other, the first
pen’s dot didn’t move very far away from its staring point, and it was composed
out of 3 distinct colors with a small Rf value. However, the second pen did
move quite a distance but didn’t move very far, therefore it had an average Rf
value with only 2 separate colors. So had the third pen which had its dot move
very far away meaning it had a big Rf value. When the same process was done
with note found from the crime scene, the detectors were able to match the second
pen with the paper in which both moved to almost midway to the end having an Rf
value of approximately 5.0 and only had two detached colors instead of three.
Therefore, after finding the pen used, the detectors used the fingerprints left
to identify who was the user of the pen which therefore makes them able to find
the killer.

in all, it is clear how significant the role of chromatography or even chemistry
in general is in our real-life world and not only in labs. As in this case, chromatography
was able to determine the killer or the criminal in general of a crime scene
using only clues left on the floor and lab tools as well. I personally feel
like there will be, in the future, much more discoveries, techniques or
concepts in general that will be used more that are related to chemistry that
might just be able to save someone’s life or turn a very difficult task into an
easy five-minute thing to do. Scientists just have to take into consideration
the problems humans face in general and attempt using scientific concepts to
solve these cases.



















ausetute. 2012. Paper
Chromatography. April 1. Accessed January 24, 2018.
n.d. Chromatography Crime Scene Evidence .
Accessed January 24, 2018.
2018. Uses of Paper Chromatography.
Accessed January 24, 2018.













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