Flash Column Chromatography System
The flash column chromatography method is one of the most popular methods used in forensic science. It allows investigators to separate different substances from a crime scene using only a few chemicals. There are several types of flash columns available today, but they all have some common features.
They use a column made up of two or more layers of glass tubes filled with liquid (usually methanol). These tubes are connected to a vacuum source. A small amount of solvent is added at the bottom of each tube, which evaporates into a vapor before reaching the top layer of glass tubing.
In the lower part of the column, a mixture of liquids is placed. As the liquid rises, it pushes the components with different boiling points, forming several layers. The liquid that is pushed out of the tube at the bottom is collected and chemically tested.
The flash column technique is usually used when the mixture to analyze contains a high volume of biological materials such as blood or saliva. In these cases, traditional methods such as gas chromatography or liquid chromatography are not very effective and often useless.
How Does a Flash Column Work
The primary purpose of this procedure is to separate a liquid mixture into its components. When performing this technique, you place the liquid to be separated on top of a vertical glass tube. At the bottom of the tube is a small amount of liquid that serves as a “carrier liquid.” As the mixture is heated, it evaporates and rises up the tube.
The liquid at the bottom of the tube is then cooled, which causes different components of a mixture to travel at different speeds. The different substances in a liquid mixture are known as “fractions.” At the top of the tube, these fractions are then separated and collected.
Uses of the Flash Column Technique
This method is mainly used for biological testing in a laboratory, but it has several other uses as well. It may be used for separating the components of a petroleum mixture, or it may be used in the production of butane gas. It may also be used to recover analytes contained in biological or environmental samples, such as wood or soil.
Since this process requires specific laboratory equipment and chemicals, it is usually only used in a lab environment.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Flash Column Technique
The flash column technique is beneficial because it allows you to separate a mixture into its components fairly quickly and easily. Also, the procedure doesn’t require a great deal of practice or skill to learn.
A major drawback of this method is that it is only effective for certain types of substances. It is not effective for separating liquids that do not have a low boiling point or those that do not contain volatile components. Also, the procedure can be quite costly due to the need for specialized equipment and chemicals.
The flash column technique is also known as the flash-column method, flash column, and flash column chromatography.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Improved Separation Method for Highly Purified Lutein from Chlorella Powder Using Jet Mill and Flash Column Chromatography on Silica Gel (S Shibata, C Ishihara, K Matsumoto – Journal of agricultural and …, 2004 – ACS Publications)
- General Method for Purification of α-Amino acid-N-carboxyanhydrides Using Flash Chromatography (JR Kramer, TJ Deming – Biomacromolecules, 2010 – ACS Publications)
- Extraction of shikimic acid from Chinese star anise using flash column chromatography on a molecularly-imprinted polymer column (M Xue, Y Wang, Z Meng, W Zhang, Y Wu… – … Liquid Chromatography …, 2013 – Taylor & Francis)