How to perform a TLC?

Mechanisms involved

The compound to be analyzed is subject to a competition between:

  • its adsorption on the stationary phase
  • its solubilization in the eluent
  • the adsorption of the eluent on the stationary phase

Adsorption of the eluent on the stationary phase: the solute is driven by the eluent.

Two types of forces are involved when the eluent drives the solutes by adsorption chromatography:
Dissolution: solutes tend to dissolve in the eluent and migrate with it.
    In this case, it has to be effective enough to outweigh the adsorbent’s adsorption capacity.
Displacement phenomena: eluent molecules look for the same adsorption sites as solute molecules and thus displace them.

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