Chromatography Lab

by Liz LaRosa

 click here for a modified pdf version

Objectives: Materials: Procedure:
  1. Cut round filter paper in half. Cut off one end to make a flat edge. ( will look like a sailboat sail)
  2. Measure 3cm from the bottom and draw a line across the width in pencil.
  3. Each group will have 3 markers: a primary color (red, yellow or blue) a secondary color ( orange, green, purple) and the last color is black or brown.
  4. On the starting line, dab one color at a time, about 10 times each. The 3 colors should not touch. You will have 3 dots on the starting line.
  5. In a beaker, add a small amount of water about 1 - 2 mL. The water should not touch the pigments!!!
  6. Place paper in beaker flat edge down and let sit 10 - 15 minutes.
  7. Take out paper and, with your pencil, follow the water line across to mark the boundary between wet and dry. This is your finish line.
  8. With your pencil, circle each pigment and label. (i.e. b for blue)
  9. Measure each of the 3 primary colors in cm from the starting line to where the pigment ended. Record in Table 1.

Data : 

Table 1 - Observations of pigments (half page)

Color Distance Pigment cm Distance Water Traveled cm Rf Value = Pigment/Water


  1. Which color had the highest Rf value?
  2. Rank the colors from highest to lowest.
  3. Compare your results with the class. What were their Rf values? Do you notice any trends? Explain.

2-3 sentences on what you learned