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CHEMISTRY : Chromatography

Solvents: BUTANOL

PROJECT TITLE: Solvent Characteristics : BUTANOL
LAST UPDATE: 2 Sep 2009
VERSION HISTORY: 1.0 - First release
1.1 - Revision of text and formatting. (2-Sep-2009)


Here are the chromatography characteristics of Butanol as a solvent on the standard refernce ink under test. Since this chemical is not miscible with water (see table in the page: solvents ), no variable concentration could be used else in its absolute (100% c.) form. Chromatography characteristics that are tested include the speed , solubility and separation of the two dyes from the refernce ink.

  1. Solubility and Separation score is out of 10 were 0 is the worst and 10 is excellent
  2. Flow Rate is the portion (expressed as percent) of solvent that had moved along the 12cm strip of chromatography paper. For example if the solvent moved 6cm from the origin, the flow rate is given as 50%

This solvent dissolves plastics, so test must be performed only in glass containers.


Table of Results using the solvent BUTANOL in Paper Chromatography
Solvent: BUTANOL (Butan-1-ol) - CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2OH
Concentration Absolute (100% c.)
Flow Rate: Very fast
Solubility: 10/10 - Dissolved completely.
Separation of dyes: 0/10 - No separation at all
Allocated Time: Not more than 45 mins
Score: 5%
Comments: An intense blue colour formed at the upper level of the solvent front. Initialy, the dyes had the shape of a semi circle, with the flat side continuous with the solvent level. Then it gradually concentrated itself on this edge as a thich line of ink. This was also resulted with the other alcohols (at absolute conc.) and takes place due the fact that the solvent is in a very concentrated form.


No separation with abs. butanol, but up to 40mins the zone has a semicircular shape which is much useful from a thin line at the level of the solvent, formed if left for over 90 mins. Dilution of this solvent with water is not possible and hence this solvent is quite useless for paper chromatography for these type of inks.

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