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Chromatography Helps Us Wrap Up Real World Mysteries

Jul 17, 2008
Solving mysteries has always enthralled human beings. We love mystery novels and crime dramas because we want to deduce who the culprit is. In real life, advances in science also deal with solving a mystery. Instead of private investigators, processes like chromatography sometimes solve real-world mysteries.

Chromatography is a technique that helps scientists, law enforcement, and even schools and companies verify the composition of a particular sample. Basically, scientists need a process to separate organic from inorganic compounds. The word itself means "color writing" and the method was developed in the first part of the twentieth century. But since the 1950's, chromatography has quickly developed as an important tool for the tricky job of analyzing materials and samples of unknown mixtures.

Although many different laboratory techniques fall under the general heading of chromatography, they all share the common procedure of separating mixtures. A solvent carries the mixture to be studied through some kind of stationary material. As the mixture passes through the material, the analyte-the substance that needs to be identified-is separated and can be identified.

There are several different sorts of chromatography that have a wide range of uses. Liquid Chromatography can be used to examine water for pollution levels, while Gas Chromatography is used to test materials as diverse as fibers or determine the presence of bombs at an airport. Thin-layer Chromatography provides an efficient way to determine if foods contain insecticides or pesticides. Although these examples are all pretty different, the process is the same. A mixture is broken down, and using other chemicals and processes, unknown elements in the mixture are identified.

Chromatography is a great tool that we have developed to answer crucial questions involving health and public safety. Through the use of controlled chemical interactions and reactions, chromatography helps us get to the bottom of things.
About the Author
If you're interesting in the process of chromatography, be sure you research the process at reputable chromatography sites!
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