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Using Gas Chromatography to Calculate an Unknown Concentration

Using Gas Chromatography to Calculate an Unknown Concentration


There are many different types of chromatography. Chemists typically use gas chromatography (GC) to identify organic compounds. Forensic scientists and other specialties use gas chromatography for drug tests, toxin screens, and environmental analysis.

In this laboratory experiment, your students will analzye a synthesized ester. The purity of the collections will be measured and analyzed using the Vernier mini-GC system.


    This U-PIK will include enough materials for four student groups.  Suggested group size is 4-5 students.  The U-PIK will include the following:

    • 4 mini-GC Vernier units
    • 4 LabQuest 2 interfaces
    • 5 1-uL glass GC syringes
    • 4 boxes of Kimwipes
    • 4 sets of known standards (ethyl acetate and butyl acetate)
    • 4 acetate mixtures
    • 4 wide-range temperature probes
    • 4 heating mantles 
    • 4 fractional distillation apparatuses
    • 20 10-mL graduated cylinders
    • 4 boxes of parafilm
    • 20 collection vials with lids

    The mini-gas chromatography system can be easily used to support the concept of boiling point.  The unknown samples will have retention times based on their boiling points.  Typically, higher boiling points will lead to higher retention times.

    The GC system also can be introduced when discussing separation of mixtures.    

  • GC User Manual

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