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Year 11 Chemistry – Exploring Chromatography

The Year 11 Chemistry class explored chromatography (separating substances) in a fun and colourful experiment!

Our Year 11 Chemistry class had a vibrant and interesting excursion at University of Western Australia on Thursday 21 July. We explored chromatography, which is separating substances and it was a fun and colourful experiment!

In this experiment, we dripped green liquid through a column containing a solid. As the green dye in the liquid interacted with the solid, it separated into blue and yellow. This was based on whether the blue dye or yellow dye was more like water or more like oil. 

The same process was used to identify the colours contained in a mysterious dark liquid. This liquid was used to separate the colours. Once we had all the colours, we had some fun making rainbows.

With a much larger (and more expensive) equipment, a similar process can be used to identify quantities of substances in a mixture, for example how much caffeine is in Coke. 

There was a hive of researchers and equipment that could be viewed in the Chemistry building. It was fascinating to see the number of equipment behind the glass walls and we were curious to know what each piece of equipment could do. One laboratory we saw had 5-10 pieces of equipment worth at least $500,000. Each one of these equipment were used in the process of identifying substances.

Before returning to school, we enjoyed the university cafeteria options, giving us a small taste of what university life would be like. 

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