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Chromatography is a useful method for separating the substances in certain mixtures There are many physical processes which may be used to separate mixtures but chromatography will not be as obvious to students as others such as filtering evaporation or using a magnet Because the substances which make up certain mixtures dissolve at different rates these substances can be separated by chromatography Chromatography was developed in the early 1900s when a Russian scientist Mikhail Tsvett was searching for a way to separate the hidden red and yellow pigments from green leaves Tsvett knew that the colored pigments were present in green leaves but remained hidden until the chlorophyll broke down in the fall allowing the leaves true colors to appear Also two British researchers Martin and Synge improved upon Tsvetts procedure and developed a process called paper chromatography They were able to use this technique to separate the amino acids in a protein and were awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1952 for their work in paper chromatography Many mixtures such as inks and food colorings consist of two or more dyes To separate the dyes a small portion of the mixture is placed onto an absorbent material such as filter paper A liquid called a solvent is absorbed onto one end of the filter paper The solvent soaks the filter paper dissolving the ink If a dye in the ink dissolves well it will move along the paper at the same rate as the solvent If another dye in the ink doesnt dissolve as well it will not move as far In a short time a pattern of colors will appear on the filter paper Each color will be a single dye that was in the ink The distance that a particular dye traveled on the filter paper is a physical property of that dye Dyes that are most soluble will travel fastest and will therefore reach the highest level on the
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