Experiment of the Day: Chromatography Flowers

What is chromatography? Chromatography is a technique that scientists use to help separate and identify the components of mixtures (solvents), such as those used in making commercial inks and dyes. Many types of ink, like many materials, are made up of two or more different substances. By passing a mixture through a liquid, most often water, you’re able to separate out the components of that mixture!

In High Touch High Tech’s Chromatography Flowers experiment, we use water’s powers to assist us in chromatography. Water is sticky, meaning that water molecules want to stay close together. Cohesion is the force that keeps water molecules together, while adhesion attracts water molecules to other substances. Water is pulled up the pipe cleaner using adhesion and cohesion, and then begins to stick to our coffee filter, climbing across the filter and spreading outwards.

Once the water reaches the coffee filter which we have drawn on, the chromatography process begins! The water is absorbed into the ink left by the marker and continues to climb across the coffee filter, separating the components of the ink!

Access the full Chromatography Flowers experiment at : https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/chromatography_flower.pdf

Want to see how Chromatography Flowers is done? Check us out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ0OKlSFBk8