Gas chromatography: types, working principle, and applications

Gas chromatography (GC) is an analytical technique used to separate and identify components in a volatile sample. It is commonly used on compounds that are in a gaseous state at room temperature or have a molecular weight of less than 1250 Da. There are two main types of gas chromatography: Gas-Liquid Chromatography (GLC) and Gas-Solid Chromatography (GSC).

Content Index

Types of Gas Chromatography

Gas-Liquid Chromatography (GLC): In GLC, a small sample size of a volatile compound is mixed with a gaseous mobile phase and passed through a non-volatile liquid stationary phase. This method is commonly used for separating compounds based on their interactions with the stationary and mobile phases.

Gas-Solid Chromatography (GSC): GSC involves a solid stationary phase. This method separates compounds using adsorption and has a longer retention time compared to GLC.

How Gas Chromatography Works

In gas chromatography, a small amount of the sample is mixed with a mobile phase and passed through a column filled with a stationary phase. The mobile phase is typically an unreactive or inert gas like helium or nitrogen. The stationary phase is usually a silicone or other selective chemicals. As the sample passes through the column, the compounds separate based on their interactions with the stationary and mobile phases. Less volatile molecules interact more with the stationary phase, resulting in slower movement through the column, while more volatile molecules interact more with the mobile phase, leading to faster movement and shorter retention time.

Gas Chromatography Method

Preparation: The gaseous mobile phase is passed through a molecular sieve to remove contaminants like hydrocarbons, water vapor, or oxygen. The compound sample is mixed with a volatile solvent and injected into the column at a higher temperature than the column to increase volatility.

Hewlett packard flat hdtv: evolution of flat screen hd tvs

The Column: The sample is passed through the column by the gas stream, and separation occurs. There are two main types of columns: packed columns and capillary columns. Packed columns are made of glass or metal and filled with small particles coated in high molecular weight polymers. Capillary columns are made of glass or fused silica and have a thin layer of the stationary phase on the inner wall.

The Detector: The sample exits the column and reaches the detector, where the components are identified based on their elution times. Common detectors include Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) and Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD).

Why is Gas Chromatography Important?

Gas chromatography is important for analyzing volatile compounds and identifying their composition. It is commonly used to identify unknown organic compounds and for quality control in various industries such as pharmaceuticals, drug analysis, environmental safety, forensics, and food safety.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gas Chromatography

Advantages of Gas Chromatography:

  • Helps in identifying unknown substances in volatile compounds
  • Versatile and can measure hundreds of different compounds
  • Robust technique that can be used alongside other techniques like mass spectrometry
  • Reliable results that can be easily replicated

Disadvantages of Gas Chromatography:

  • Not reliable for non-volatile substances
  • Requires high temperatures, which may degrade certain compounds
  • Equipment maintenance is crucial to avoid issues with the column and carrier gases

If you are experiencing inaccurate gas chromatography analyses or have issues with your equipment, LC Services can help. We provide high-quality gas chromatography parts and services to ensure your equipment runs smoothly. Contact our team to learn more about our services.

Hewlett packard folding at home: empowering scientific research

Go up

We use our own and third-party cookies to prepare statistical information and show you personalized content and services through navigation analysis. Accept them or set your preferences. More Information