The purpose of the gas chromatography lab is to find out how different substances interact with the surface of a solid. Chromatography is a separation technique that depends on the relative distribution of the components of a mixture between a mobile phase and a solid stationary phase. Chromatography measures the tendency of a substance to interact with the surface of a solid or to remain in a mobile phase. When doing a chromatography lab the mobile phase has to be a substance that is either in a liquid or a gas state. In this lab the mobile phase was a gas, which is why this is called a gas chromatography lab. The different gases tested in this lab were CHCl3 and CH2Cl2. It is determined to what extent a gas interacts with the solid by injecting a known amount of the mobile gas into the carrier gas and then measuring the concentration that comes out at the end of the column. From this there was a detector that transferred the information to a computer were it was graphed. The tendency of the gas to interact with the solid is determined by the number of theoretical plates. A substance that interacts more strongly with the surface of the solid will take more time to be carried across the stationary phase.
The pieces of a Gas Chromatograph are the gas supply, injector, column and the detector. The gas supply, or carrier gas, is the gas from the valves at the lab tables. First a coil had to be made out of copper, which would serve as the burner for the detection system. A pipet was used as the column to put the solid stationary substance into. The solid phase in this experiment was Tide. The pipet was filled with Tide detergent and cotton was inserted in both end of the pipet. The column was then secured horizontally to a ring stand using clamps. The tip of the column should be in a vertical position. The copper coil is then placed in the vertical part of the column with the coil about 1/8" above the end of the column. It is important that the copper coil be placed at the right height because if it is too low the flame will not get enough air and if the copper is to high the flame will burn below the coil. On the other open end of the column the latex coupling/buret valve assembly is connected to the gas supply and to the column. It is attached to the gas supply by using a Bunsen burner hose. The buret valve is used as the adjuster for controlling the gas flow through the column. Another important part of the gas chromatography setup is the flame shield and detector. The flame shield is an open-ended cylinder made of black construction paper. It is used to prevent drafts and room light from causing errors in the signal from the detector. The coil should be centered in the middle of the flame shield. The detector/stopper assembly should be secured to the ring stand using a clamp and the detector should be facing directly at the flame through a cut out portion of the cylinder. After this is done a wire gauze pad should be placed over the cylinder to reduce the light that shines in through the top of the cylinder. The last part of the setup is the computer setup. The alligator clips should be connected to the wires of the sensor. Polarity is not important. The face of the sensor should be about 1/8" back from the end of the straw. Once on the computer the icon labeled GC startup should be double clicked to launch the data collection program. The y-axis should go from 1 to 5 volts with the units decreasing upwards. The x-axis should go from 0 to 400 seconds.
Once setup of the gas chromatography is complete, the system is ready to be tested. With the gas turned on and a flame with a height of about 3/8" begin the data collection system and adjust the flame until it is reading between 4 and 5 volts. After the flame is correct the actual experiment is ready to be started. First a septum vial of CH2Cl2 should be retrieved from the fume hood....
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