Chromatography

We use dyes and inks to colour many of the things we use. To find out if the colour of a felt tip pen is pure dye or a mixture of dyes is a simple process called Chromatography.

Chromatography is the process of separating coloured chemicals. This process only works because some dyes are more soluble than others. A special type of paper is used to soak up the liquids. As the liquids move up the paper the more soluble dyes will end up higher on the paper. When you observe the paper you will either see one colour or a mixture of colours. A towel cannot be used in this process because it absorbs water too quickly.

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Diargram of Paper Chromatography
Diargram of Paper Chromatography