Paper chromatography | practical videos | 14–16 years

Chromatogram sitting in a beaker. The paper has a pencil line with three labels, marked as 1, 2 and 3. Sample 1 has separated into blue, orange and pink up the paper. Sample 2 is still a black circle of ink on the pencil line and sample 3 contains orange

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

Video and resources showing how to separate colours in inks using paper chromatography

Investigate the separation of inks with GCSE, Junior Cycle and National 5 learners using this paper chromatography video, including a step-by-step method, animation and calculation support for learners. Download the supporting resources including teacher and technician notes, worksheets, answers, integrated instructions and more. Use the video and resources to prepare for and complement live practical work, as well as for flipped learning and revision. 

The experiment introduces the equipment and technique, with real-world applications to provide context. Review key terms such as mobile phase, stationary phase, origin line and solvent front. Plus, use the video to show alternative methods, eg using ethanol as the solvent and thin-layer chromatography. Learners will also develop key maths skills in the practical including measuring distances accurately, ratios and giving answers to a specified decimal place. 

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