### Composition of a Mixture

The composition of an ink using paper chromatography

Composition of a mixture:

Chromatography paper is taken. A sample (unknown) is placed along the pencil line. Other known elements are placed beside the sample along the same line.

• Chromatograms will show the composition of a mixture as the different coloured substances (components) will spread apart as they will have different solubilities so will travel at different rates
• A pure substance will only produce one spot on the chromatogram during paper chromatography
• In the diagram shown, red, blue and yellow are three pure substances, whilst the sample on the left is a mixture of all three

### Rf Values to Identify Mixture Components

Using Rf values to identify components of a mixture

Retardation factor (Rf) values:

Used to identify the components of mixtures

• The Rf value of a particular compound is always the same
• Calculating the Rf value allows chemists to identify unknown substances because it can be compared with Rf values of known substances under the same conditions.

Equation:

Rf value =     distance moved by compound    ÷     distance moved by solvent

### Practical

The paper chromatography of ink and plant dye

Use:

To separate substances that have different solubilities in a given solvent (e.g different coloured inks that have been mixed to make black ink).

Method:

• Pencil line is drawn on chromatography paper and spots of ink / dye is placed on it.
• Paper is lowered into a bucket of solvent, allowing the solvent to travel up the paper, taking some of the coloured substances with it.
• Allow chromatography to occur until the solvent reaches the top of the paper.

Results:

• As the solvent travels up the paper, different substances will have different solubilities so will travel at different rates, causing the substances to spread apart.

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### Author: Jamie

Jamie got a First class degree in Chemistry from Oxford University before going on to teach chemistry full time as a professional tutor. He’s put together these handy revision notes to match the Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry specification so you can learn exactly what you need to know for your exams.