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(Chemistry Projects) Class 12th Chemistry Projects for 2009 Exams (Paper Chromatography: Advanced Version - 1)

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Class 12th Chemistry Projects for 2009 Exams
Paper Chromatography: Advanced Version 1


The objective of this project is to compare different chromatography substrates and solvents to see which combination performs best for separating ink components.


Matter makes up everything in the universe. Our body, the stars, computers, and coffee mugs are all made of matter. There are three different types of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. A solid is something that is normally hard (your bones, the floor under your feet, etc.), but it can also be powdery, like sugar or flour. Solids are substances that are rigid and have definite shapes. Liquids flow and assume the shape of their container; they are also difficult to compress (a powder can take the same shape as its container, but it is a collection of solids that are very small). Examples of liquids are milk, orange juice, water, and vegetable oil. Gases are around you all the time, but you may not be able to see them. The air we breathe is made up of a mixture of gases. The steam from boiling water is water's gaseous form. Gases can occupy all the parts of a container (they expand to fill their containers), and they are easily compressed.


Matter is often a mixture of different substances. A heterogeneous mixture is when the mixture is made up of parts that are dissimilar (sand is a heterogeneous mixture). Homogeneous mixtures (also called solutions) are uniform in structure (milk is a homogeneous mixture). A sugar cube floating in water is a heterogeneous mixture, whereas sugar dissolved in water is a homogeneous mixture. You will determine whether the ink contained in a marker is a heterogeneous or homogeneous mixture, or just one compound.


In a mixture, the substance dissolved in another substance is called the solute. The substance doing the dissolving is called the solvent. If you dissolve sugar in water, the sugar is the solute and the water is the solvent.


For this project, you will be making a small spot with an ink marker onto a strip of paper. The bottom of this strip will then be placed in a dish of water, and the water will soak up into the paper. The water (solvent) is the mobile phase of the chromatography system, whereas the paper is the stationary phase. These two phases are the basic principles of chromatography. Chromatography works by something called capillary action. The attraction of the water to the paper (adhesion force) is larger than the attraction of the water to itself (cohesion force), hence the water moves up the paper. The ink will also be attracted to the paper, to itself, and to the water differently, and thus a different component will move a different distance depending upon the strength of attraction to each of these objects. As an analogy, let's pretend you are at a family reunion. You enjoy giving people hugs and talking with your relatives, but your cousin does not. As you make your way to the door to leave, you give a hug to every one of your relatives, and your cousin just says "bye." So, your cousin will make it to the door more quickly than you will. You are more attracted to your relatives, just as some chemical samples may be more attracted to the paper than the solvent, and thus will not move up the solid phase as quickly. Your cousin is more attracted to the idea of leaving, which is like the solvent (the mobile phase).


Polarity has a huge affect on how attracted a chemical is to other substances. Some molecules have a positively charged side and a negatively charged side, similar to a magnet. The positive side is attracted to the negative side of another molecule (opposites attract), and vice versa. The larger the charge difference, the more polar a molecule is. The reason for the unequal charge is that electrons (which are negatively charged) are not shared equally by each atom (in water, the negative electrons are more attracted to the oxygen because of its atomic structure). Some molecules, like vegetable oil, are neutral and do not have a charge associated with them; they are called nonpolar molecules. Polarity affects many of a molecule's properties, such as its affinity to water. Water is a highly polar molecule, so other polar molecules are easily attracted to it. A molecule is called hydrophilic if it dissolves well in water (hydrophilic essentially means "loves water"). A nonpolar molecule, such as oil, does not dissolve well in water, and thus it is hydrophobic ("fears water"). Oil would rather stick to itself than to water, and this is why it forms a layer across water instead of mixing with it.


Soap can clean oils off of your body because soap has both polar and nonpolar properties. A soap molecule has a nonpolar, and thus hydrophobic, "tail" made up mostly of carbon and hydrogen atoms, but it also has a polar (hydrophilic) "head." The nonpolar body of the soap mixes easily with the nonpolar oils, but not with the water. The polar head is attracted to the water, so the soap/oil mixture is rinsed off. The negatively charged oxygen of the water is not attracted to any of the "tail's" hydrogen because the carbon and hydrogen share electrons almost equally, so there is not a major charge difference (the carbon-hydrogen group is neutral).

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