Brian Stankus (Class of ’13)

Effective and Inexpensive HPLC Analogue for First-Year Students: Buret Chromatography of Food Dyes in Drinks

Chromatography is a ubiquitous technique in analytical chemistry, and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is the industry standard for quantitation of components in solution mixtures. However, demonstrating the principles of liquid chromatography to undergraduates via HPLC-based experiments often proves ineffective because of the fully automated nature of modern HPLC units. This paper details a novel laboratory exercise that is accessible to students in first-year chemistry and high school and helps to demonstrate and demystify the principles involved in HPLC. Using only common and inexpensive laboratory equipment found in most general-chemistry laboratories (burets and benchtop spectrophotometers), students are able to replicate results that are equivalent to those obtained on research-grade HPLC instruments, while gaining valuable insight into chromatography principles.