Ink Chromatography Writeup

Chromatography of Inks


One of the main jobs of biochemists is to unravel the complexities of chemical compounds and reduce them to their individual components.  Separation of the components of chemical compounds can be done by using several methods. Liquids can be separate by High Performance liquid Chromatography (HPLC), while the components of gases are separated by Gas Chromatography.  Chromatography is a method for analyzing complex mixtures (such as ink) by separating them into the chemicals from which they are made. Chromatography is used to separate and identify all sorts of substances in police work. Drugs from narcotics to aspirin can be identified in urine and blood samples, often with the aid of chromatography.

Chromatography was first used to separate pigments (colors) in leaves, berries, and natural dyes. Paper chromatography is a technique used to separate, isolate, and identify chemical components of a compound. In paper chromatography, the solid surface is the cellulose fibers in the chromatography paper.  A solvent (water, alcohol, or acetone) is placed in the bottom of the chromatography chamber.