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Thin Layer Chromatography: Separate a mixture and monitor a reaction's progress Virtual Lab

Discover the intermolecular interactions involved in Thin Layer Chromatography. Utilize this newfound knowledge to assemble, run, and analyze a TLC experiment to monitor the progress of a reaction.

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Thin Layer Chromatography: Separate a mixture and monitor a reaction's progress

About this Simulation

Explore the interactions involved in Thin Layer Chromatography

Dr. One has been experimenting. In the Lab you can observe the separation of pigments in a spinach leaf, but how did they achieve this? Welcome to the world of Thin Layer Chromatography! Using a solvent, a stationary phase, a sample, and some time, you will be able to separate the components of a mixture. Learn about the interactions by taking a visit to the world's largest TLC plate (awaiting official certification), and zoom into the stationary phase to observe how TLC separates a sample.

Determine the mobile phase through trial and error

After you have explored the interactions, it is time to determine the mobile phase solvent ratio for your own TLC plate. Trial combinations of different solvents to separate compounds with different polarities, until you have found the perfect mobile phase to separate the molecules of interest. The joys of a virtual lab means you get instant feedback, and don’t have to wait for several TLC plates to develop.

Monitor the progress of a reaction via TLC and analyze the results

Once you have calculated the correct solvent ratio, it’s time to get to work. Assemble and run your own TLC experiment to monitor the progress of a reaction. Select the appropriate apparatus, experiment with how to handle and place the plate, and correctly spot the sample onto the stationary phase. Will you be able to successfully remove the plate from the chamber at the right time? After you have run the experiment, move onto analyzing your TLC plate under UV light, determining when the reaction has gone to completion. The virtual lab saves time again, with rapid results! Then you will cap it all off by measuring the distance the spots have moved to calculate the Rf value. Will you be able to successfully analyze your results and figure out at what time the reaction completed?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Assemble, run, and analyze your own TLC experiment

  • Understand the key principles of Thin Layer Chromatography and how the mobile and stationary phases interact with a sample to enable separation

  • Monitor the progress of a reaction via TLC

  • Quantify and interpret the spots on a complete TLC plate

  • Measure migration distances and use them to determine the Rf values of different compounds of interest

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC)

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