Different Types of Chromatography - PSIBERG (2023)

By Junaid A. May 22, 2022

Chromatography is the type of classical analysis used for the separation of components of a mixture. There are different types of chromatography based on mobile phase, stationary phase, and force of separations i.e liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, thin layer chromatography, paper chromatography, column chromatography, adsorption chromatography, partition chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, gel filtration chromatography, and affinity chromatography.

Types of chromatography

Chromatography can be classified based on mobile phase, stationary phase, forces of separation, or method of separation. There are different types of chromatography

  • Thin-layer chromatography (TLC)
  • Paper chromatography
  • Column chromatography (CC)
  • Adsorption chromatography
  • Partition chromatography
  • Ion exchange chromatography (IEC)
  • Affinity chromatography
  • Gel filtration
  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Electrochromatography
  • High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

Thin layer chromatography (TLC)

Thin layer chromatography is used to separate components of a mixture by using glass, aluminum, or plastic plates as stationary phases. The adsorbent is coated on these plates. The separation of components depends on the principle of how much the components adsorb in the stationary phase and how much dissolve in the mobile phase.

Different types of adsorbents are used in Thin layer chromatography i.e, Alumina, Silica gel, Cellulose, Activated charcoal, polymeric resins, metal silicates (Mg, Ca), Sephadex gel, etc. These are applied on the clean surface of plates in the form of an aqueous slurry of finely ground solids. Binders are also used to enhance the adhesion of adsorbents on glass plates. These plates take much time to develop. These plates are activated by drying or heating in the oven.

After performing experiments several methods are used for locating the components of mixtures. Color components are easily visible. For locating substances other than color substance chemical or physical methods are used.

  • Organic compounds are detected by spraying a solution of iodine or sulfuric acid.
  • A UV lamp is used for the detection of fluorescent substances.
  • Ninhydrin is selective for the detection of amino acids.
  • Potassium chromate is used for the detection of inorganic ions i.e Pb, Hg, etc.
  • Rubeanic acid is used for the detection of ions of Co, Fe, Ni, Cu, etc.

Paper chromatography

Paper chromatography is the most common type of chromatography. In this paper filter paper strips or used as inert support or carriers. Generally in paper chromatography water adsorb on the hydrophilic surface (pores of cellulose) and acts as a stationary phase. Filter paper impregnated with adsorbents like silica, alumina can be also used as a stationary phase.

The mobile phase caring sample moves through capillary action. Single solvent or solvent in different ratios can be used as a mobile phase. After the solvent moves three fourth of the filter paper it is allowed to dry. Finished dried paper is known as a chromatogram. Distance moved by component is determined by physical or chemical methods. Uv lamps or ordinary lights are used to locate the position of spots on a chromatogram. Chemically Different locating agents are sprayed over a chromatogram to locate the spots.

(Video) Explain the Principle of Flame Photometry | Spectroscopy | Analytical Chemistry

Column chromatography

In this type of chromatography column ( a long capillary tube) is packed with suitable adsorbents. This column is used as a stationary phase. whereas, a mobile caring sample flows through the column. The separation of components takes place according to the relative affinities of an analyte with the stationary and mobile phases.

A column may be made up of a stainless tube in case of HPLC or it may be a simple glass tube packed with absorbent. HPLC is the most widely used type of column chromatography. Silica gel is the most widely used adsorbent in column chromatography.

Adsorption chromatography

In adsorption chromatography, the stationary phase is solid. It is known as liquid-solid chromatography. In this type of chromatography, a suitable adsorbent is used as a stationary phase. Different adsorbents are Silca gel, alumina, activated charcoal, starch, etc. These adsorbents produce a partitioning effect by retaining some of the samples in the mobile phase.

The working of adsorption chromatography is similar to partition chromatography. The principle is based on the differential absorption by the adsorbent. The most strongly adsorbed component forms the top band while the least strongly adsorbed forms the lower bands. The bands in between are formed by the components of descending absorbability. Column chromatography is a common example of adsorption chromatography.

Partition chromatography

Partition chromatography is also known as liquid-liquid chromatography. In this type of chromatography, the stationary phase is liquid. The liquid stationary phase is usually a water molecule present in inert porous solids like cellulose. The mobile phase can gas are a mixture of liquid solvents according to requirements.

The stationary phase is not always a water molecule. For some separations, Strong acids/bases or buffers are also mixed with water molecules. Similarly, polar solvents like alcohols, nitromethane, and glycols alone or mixed with water molecules also served as stationary phases. These are adsorbed on different adsorbents like silica gel, alumina, starch, cellulose, powdered glass, etc.

There must be differences in polarities of the mobile phase and stationary phase. This will make both phases immiscible. This helps in the clear separation of components. Color components are easily detected. Colorless components are detected by using UV lamps. Radioisotopic methods can also be used to identify components. Similarly, different chemical reagents can also be used i.e ferric chloride is used to develop phenols.

Ion exchange chromatography

Ion exchange chromatography is a type of solid-liquid chromatography. This is most widely used in inorganic chemistry for the separation of ions and polar substances. The stationary phase is solid bead-shaped ion exchange resins. These resins are made up of polymers of polystyrene cross linked with divinylbenzene having a large number of ionic groups attached to the free phenyl group.

There are two types of resins used

  • Cation exchange resins
  • Anion exchange resins

These may be natural or synthetic like zeolites, dolomites, clay, coal, peat, lignite, etc. ion exchange chromatography is mostly performed on columns with adsorbents and cationic or anionic exchangers. The columns are designed in such a way that there should be no hindrance in the flow of liquid. This form of chromatography relies on the attraction between the oppositely charged ion exchanger, and the mobile phase containing the analyte.

Ions present in the porous stationary phase are exchanged with the ions present in the solution when they come in contact with each other. The total exchange capacity of resins depends upon the total number of ion active groups present per unit volume of materials. It is usually expressed in millimoles per gram of exchangers. The exchange of ions obeys the law of mass action.

Ion exchange is a physicochemical process. It is affected by physical and chemical variables like pH, the concentration of ions, charge, atomic mass, nature of ions to be separated, ionic radii, the chemical composition of the exchanger, etc. Ion exchange chromatography is performed

  • Spectrophotometrically
  • Polarographically
  • Conductometrically
  • Radiochemical methods

Gel filtration chromatography

Gel filtration chromatography is also known as size exclusion or molecular sieve chromatography. In this type of chromatography, components are separated based on their size and the rates at which they pass through a bed of porous gel-like packing. Molecules or ions larger than pores of gel are completely excluded from the interior while smaller ones diffuse into the interior of porous materials.

Gel chromatography is done by the elution method. Columns used as stationary phase are made up of straight tubes with bed support at the bottom. The stationary phase consists of a bed of porous polymeric materials that readily absorbs water and swells. This bedding permits the liquid to pass through without disturbing the gel.

The most widely used polymer is prepared by cross-linking of polysaccharide dextran with epichlorohydrin. Gel chromatography is especially useful for separating enzymes, proteins, peptides, and amino acids from each other and substances of low molecular weight. Results are analyzed by using different types of detectors i.e, refractive index (RI), laser light scattering (LLS), differential viscosity (DV), and ultraviolet (UV) detectors.

Affinity chromatography

Affinity chromatography is the type of liquid chromatography that is used for the separation, analysis, and purification of biomolecules like proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes, etc. affinity chromatography is based on specific binding interactions between the stationary phase and binding partners in the mobile phase i.e,

  • Enzyme and substrate
  • Antigen and antibody
  • Proteins and nucleic acids
  • Receptors and ligands
  • Enzyme and inhibitors

These interactions lead to separations. The stationary phase consists of covalently bonded ligands for binding target molecules. the substances having binding sites for ligand trap whereas all other substances passed out of the column. These molecules are then eluted by different methods such as

  • Introducing a competing ligand in the mobile phase
  • Changing the pH of the mobile phase
  • Changing ionic strength
  • Changing polarity conditions

Different affinity media are used in affinity chromatography i.e

  • Amino acids media
  • Avidin biotin media
  • Carbohydrate media
  • Dye ligand media lipases
  • Hydrophobic interaction media
  • Immunoaffinity media
  • Nucleic acids media
  • Specialty media

Affinity chromatography is useful for its high selectivity and resolution of separation compared to other chromatographic methods. The target molecule can be obtained in a high purity state. It can be used to remove specific contaminations. Although affinity chromatography has many advantages at the same time, it has many disadvantages

  • It is time-consuming
  • Expensive techniques
  • It leads to the denaturation of proteins

Gas chromatography

Gas chromatography is also known as vapor phase chromatography. It is used to separate thermally stable compounds. In this type of chromatography, the mobile phase is a gas whereas the stationary phase may be solid or liquid. It separates the component mixture into constituents by passing a moving gas over a stationary sorbent. Components to be separated are vaporized at high temperatures without any decomposition.

There are two types of gas chromatography

  • Gas liquid chromatography (GLC)
  • Gas solid chromatography (GSC)

In gas, solid chromatography stationary phase is adsorbent like alumina, silica, carbon, etc. The separation takes place through the partitioning process. In this type of chromatography, the stationary phase is liquid supported on inert solids. The solids function only as a support for the liquid stationary phase. Gas-liquid chromatography can not be used at very high temperatures because of the instability and volatility of liquids.

It is possible to separate complex mixtures containing more than 200 related compounds by using gas chromatography. Chemically inert carrier gasses like helium, argon, nitrogen, and hydrogen are used. Flow rates are controlled by using pressure regulators. Two different types of columns are used in chromatography

  • Capillary columns
  • Packed columns

Different types of detectors are used in gas chromatography. The choice of detectors depends upon factors like

  • Concentration of sample
  • Nature of sample

Detectors used in gas chromatography are

  • Thermal conductivity
  • Flame ionization
  • Electron capture
  • Photoionization detectors
  • Atomic emission detectors
  • GC MS


Electrochromatography is the migration of individual or colloidal particles through the solution under the influence of an electrical field. It is a combination of size exclusion chromatography and gel electrophoresis. When a potential difference is applied between two electrodes then charged particles move toward the oppositely charged electrodes. The rate of migration depends upon

  • The characteristics of particles.
  • Properties of the electrical field.
  • Temperature
  • Nature of suspended medium.

It may be performed in the presence of a supporting medium. The supporting medium is strips of paper. These can be easily manipulated and give good results. Graphite rods, Stainless steel, Silver chloride, and platinum electrodes can be used for electrochromatography. The source of direct current is a rectifier that delivers between 100-300 volts. the voltage applied and the time needed for fractionation depend upon the nature of the sample.

Once fractionation has been completed then we can locate components by spot test techniques. Proteins are located by staining, amino acids are detected by ninhydrin, and enzymes are located by their specific activities and color reactions. Samples can also be detected by using UV lamps or by autoradiography or scanning.

Electrochromatography is widely used for the separation, purification, preparation, and measurement of ionic, and colloidal particles. It is used in clinical chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology to resolve and separate mostly large biomolecules such as proteins. It is used for the separation of large molecules containing serum, urine, spinal fluids, gastric juices, and other body fluids.

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

HPLC is also known as high-pressure liquid chromatography. It is the most commonly used analytical technique for the separation, identification, and quantification of components of a mixture. HPLC is a type of liquid chromatography that is used to separate compounds that are dissolved in a solution. Separation takes place by injecting the sample into the column.

In HPLC the stationary phase is solid whereas the mobile phase is liquid. The stationary phase is contained in the column. This is also known as the heart of HPLC. The column is packed with suitable adsorbents. One end of the column is attached to the pump. The pump helps to pass pressurized mobile and sample through the column. Different types of columns are used for analysis. The most commonly used column is Octadecyl silica also known as C18.

Retention of the sample depends upon the interaction of the analyte with the mobile phase and stationary phase.

The main components of HPLC are

  • Mobile phase reservoir
  • HPLC pump
  • Sample injecting system
  • Column
  • Detectors
  • Amplifiers
  • recorders

Different types of detectors like

  • UV detectors
  • Refractive index
  • Conductometric
  • Mass Spectrometric
  • Fluorescence

UV detectors are the most commonly used detectors in HPLC. Signals are directly proportional to concentration. These signals are electronically converted to the area.

Key TakeAways

Concept bergs

What is the chromatographic technique?

Chromatography is an analytical technique used for the separation, purification, identification, and quantification of components of a mixture between stationary and mobile phases.

What is the principle of chromatography?

The basic principle of all types of chromatography is

“Relative affinities of components of the mixture toward mobile phase and stationary phase”

Distribution of analyte between the mobile phase and stationary phase/interaction of the sample with the mobile phase and stationary phase

What does the word chromatography mean?

The word chromatography is derived from two words chroma and graphy

The word chroma means Color and graphy means writing

What are the different types of chromatography?

  • Thin layer chromatography (TLC)
  • Paper chromatography
  • Column chromatography (CC)
  • Adsorption chromatography
  • Partition chromatography
  • Ion exchange chromatography (IEC)
  • Affinity chromatography
  • Gel filtration
  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Electrochromatography
  • High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)

Differentiate between stationary and mobile phase.

Stationary phase

  • It is fixed and does not move.
  • Mostly a stationary phase is solid.
  • The stationary phase may be solid, liquid, or gel.

Mobile phase

  • Mobile phase travel over or through the stationary phase.
  • Mostly the mobile phase is liquid.
  • The mobile phase may be liquid, gas, or supercritical fluids.

Why TLC is preferred over Paper and column chromatography?

TLC is superior to paper and column chromatography because

  • It is a fast technique. (require a short time to develop chromatogram)
  • Solutes that do not migrate from baseline are also detectable.
  • It requires a small number of samples.
  • TLC has a higher sample capacity than paper and column chromatography.
  • It can be dried at a high temperature without the risk of damage.
  • It is more sensitive than paper and column chromatography.


Vogel’s Textbook of Quantitative Chemical Analysis sixth edition by J Mendham, RC Denney, JD Barnes, M Thomas.

First edition of Analytical Chemistry Instrumental Techniques by Mahinder Singh

Different types of chromatography(byjus.com)

Types of chromatography (Microbe notes)

Was this article helpful?

Similar Topics

Nothing related found, please consider searching...


What are different types of chromatography? ›

Various chromatography methods have been developed to that end. Some of them include column chromatography, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), paper chromatography, gas chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, gel permeation chromatography, high-pressure liquid chromatography, and affinity chromatography [6].

What are the 4 types of chromatography discuss each? ›

While this method is so accurate, there are primarily four different types of chromatography: gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, and paper chromatography. Each has its own advantages and benefits in several industries, from healthcare to forensic science.

How many types are there in chromatography? ›

There are two main types of chromatography: liquid chromatography (LC) and gas chromatography (GC). Both LC and GC can be used for either preparative or analytical applications.

What is chromatography name its type? ›

Chromatography is a separation method where the analyte is combined within a liquid or gaseous mobile phase., which is pumped through a stationary phase. Usually one phase is hydrophilic and the other is lipophilic. The components of the analyte interact differently with these two phases.

What is chromatography short answer? ›

Chromatography is a process for separating components of a mixture. To get the process started, the mixture is dissolved in a substance called the mobile phase, which carries it through a second substance called the stationary phase.

Which chromatography is best? ›

Gas/Liquid Chromatography

Some advantages of using gas chromatography (GC) are high resolution, high accuracy, high speed and high sensitivity.

What are the 4 principles of chromatography? ›

For instance, four separation techniques based on molecular characteristics and interaction type use mechanisms of ion exchange, surface adsorption, partition, and size exclusion. Other chromatography techniques are based on the stationary bed, including column, thin layer, and paper chromatography.

What are 2 examples of chromatography? ›

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), size exclusion chromatography, and supercritical fluid chromatography are some types of liquid chromatography. Examples of other types of chromatography include ion-exchange, resin, and paper chromatography.

Where is chromatography used? ›

Chromatography plays a crucial role in various industries such as the pharmaceutical, food, and chemical industries. Generally, the environmental testing laboratories want to identify components for small quantities of contaminants like the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in waste oil.

What is chromatography method? ›

chromatography, technique for separating the components, or solutes, of a mixture on the basis of the relative amounts of each solute distributed between a moving fluid stream, called the mobile phase, and a contiguous stationary phase.

What is paper chromatography types? ›

In the last, we can conclude that the types of paper chromatography are descending, ascending, ascending-descending, radial paper, and two dimensional chromatography.

What is Rf value? ›

What is RF Value? The Rf (retardation factor) value is the ratio of the solute's distance travelled to the solvent's distance travelled. The word comes from chromatography when it was discovered that a given component will always travel the same distance in a given solvent under the same conditions.

What type of chromatography is TLC? ›

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is an affinity-based method used to separate compounds in a mixture. TLC is a highly versatile separation method that is widely used for both qualitative and quantitative sample analysis.

Who discovered chromatography? ›

Chromatography was invented about ninety years ago by M. S. Tswett, a Russian scientist studying plant pigments.

Why is it called chromatography? ›

Mikhail Tsvet and Early Column Chromatography

He did so to achieve the separation of various colour pigments from plants. As a result, he named the technique “chromatography”; “chroma” from the Greek word for “colour”, combined with “graphy”, meaning writing or recording.

Why is paper chromatography used? ›

Paper chromatography is mainly used for determining the purity of various pharmaceutical products [40]. In food and beverages, it is used to detect contamination; and in industries, it can be used for separation purposes [41]. In the chemical labs, paper chromatography is employed to analyze reaction mixture [42].

What is chromatography write one example? ›

Chromatography is a simple technique through which mixtures gets separated into its components. The mixture to be separated is placed in the filter paper, and with the help of the solvents used in it, components get separated. Two applications: Scientists use this chromatography technique for their analysis purposes.

Who uses chromatography? ›

The Police, F.B.I., and other detectives use chromatography when trying to solve a crime. It is also used to determine the presence of cocaine in urine, alcohol in blood, PCB's in fish, and lead in water. Chromatography is used by many different people in many different ways.

What type of mixture is separated by chromatography? ›

Chromatography is a technique to separate components of a homogeneous mixture based on the solubility difference of the components in a solvent or solvent mixture. Typically it is performed in liquid or in gas phase.

What is the main purpose of chromatography? ›

The objective of chromatography is to separate the various substances that make up a mixture. The applications range from a simple verification of the purity of a given compound to the quantitative determination of the components of a mixture.

What is chromatography Class 12? ›

Chromatography is the technique for separating the components, or solutes, of a mixture based on the relative amounts of each solute distributed between a moving fluid stream, called the mobile phase, and a contiguous stationary phase.

What is chromatography Class 11? ›

Chromatography is a technique used to separate those solutes of a mixture that are soluble in the same solvent. It works on the principle of adsorption. It is used to separate the colored components such as(dyes) in black ink. Chromatography is the technique for the separation, purification, and testing of compounds.

What is chromatography Class 9 Example? ›

What is chromatography? It is a technique used to separate different solutes that dissolve in the same solvent. This technique is used for separation of different colors . It is used to separate different colors of dye.

Which paper is best for chromatography? ›

Porous paper, such as filter paper, is the best type of paper used for chromatography. The paper is absorbent, so essentially, the components absorb at different rates, creeping up the paper. A small sample of the mixture is placed on the paper, which is in contact with a solvent.

Is GC faster than HPLC? ›

Due to the volatility of the sample and high column temperature, GC happens much faster in comparison to HPLC. GC elution can occur anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes.

Which is best HPLC or GC? ›

While gas chromatography can only analyze volatile substances, HPLC can handle any soluble compound regardless of volatility. This expands its operational capacities beyond that of gas chromatography, making it the perfect addition to a laboratory.

What are the three parts of chromatography? ›

And in these four steps, the process gets complete. We can say that chromatography is divided into three basic components: Mobile Phase, Stationary Phase, and Separated Molecules.

What are the steps in chromatography? ›

Performing a chromatographic experiment is basically a three-step process: 1) application of the sample, 2) "developing" the chromatogram by allowing the mobile phase to move up the paper, and 3) calculating Rf values and making conclusions. The distance traveled by the spot is measured to the MIDDLE of the spot.

What are the chromatography properties? ›

Adsorption - the property of how well a substance in the mixture sticks to the chromatographic column. The higher the adsorption the slower the substance will move along the column. Solubility - the property of how well a substance in the mixture dissolves into the solvent.

What are 3 Application of chromatography? ›

Pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, environmental and chemical safety, food and beverage, drug testing, forensics, petroleum creation, and molecular biology are some of the most common uses of chromatography.

What are the 4 types of column chromatography? ›

Column chromatography can be classified into four classes: adsorption column chromatography, partition column chromatography, gel column chromatography and ion-exchange column chromatography.

What type of chromatography are used HPLC? ›

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is a form of column chromatography that pumps a sample mixture or analyte in a solvent (known as the mobile phase) at high pressure through a column with chromatographic packing material (stationary phase).

What is the most common type of chromatography? ›

Paper Chromatography is one of the most common types of chromatography. It uses a strip of paper as the stationary phase. Capillary action is used to pull the solvents up through the paper and separate the solutes.

Why HPLC is best type of chromatography? ›

Also HPLC columns are made with smaller adsorbent particles (2–50 μm in average particle size). This gives HPLC superior resolving power (the ability to distinguish between compounds) when separating mixtures, which makes it a popular chromatographic technique.

Which chromatography is used? ›

Paper chromatography is one of the important chromatographic methods. Paper chromatography uses paper as the stationary phase and a liquid solvent as the mobile phase. In paper chromatography, the sample is placed on a spot on the paper and the paper is carefully dipped into a solvent.

Where is used chromatography? ›

Chromatography plays a vital role in the chemical industry for the testing of water samples for purity. The testing of air samples for their purity is also accomplished by chromatographic techniques in the chemical industry.

What are the types of paper chromatography? ›

What are the different types of paper chromatography?
  • A. Descending paper chromatography.
  • B. Ascending paper chromatography.
  • C. Radial paper chromatography.
  • D. Descending-Ascending paper chromatography.
  • E. Two dimensional paper chromatography.

Why is chromatography paper used? ›

Paper chromatography is mainly used for determining the purity of various pharmaceutical products [40]. In food and beverages, it is used to detect contamination; and in industries, it can be used for separation purposes [41]. In the chemical labs, paper chromatography is employed to analyze reaction mixture [42].

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 02/02/2023

Views: 6133

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.