TLC is a simple, quick, and inexpensive procedure that gives the chemist a rapid answer as to how many contents are in a mixture. TLC is additionally used to support the identification of a compound in a mixture once the Rf the a link is compared with the Rf that a recognized compound (preferably both run on the exact same TLC plate).

You are watching: What will be the result of applying too much compound to a tlc plate?

A TLC key is a sheet of glass, metal, or plastic i beg your pardon is coated through a thin layer of a hard adsorbent (usually silica or alumina). A little amount that the mixture to it is in analyzed is spotted close to the bottom the this plate. The TLC bowl is then placed in a shallow swimming pool of a solvent in a emerging chamber for this reason that just the an extremely bottom the the plate is in the liquid. This liquid, or the eluent, is the mobile phase, and also it gradually rises increase the TLC plate by capillary action.

As the solvent moves previous the spot that was applied, an equilibrium is established for every component of the mixture in between the molecule of the component which are adsorbed on the solid and the molecules which are in solution. In principle, the contents will differ in solubility and also in the stamin of your adsorption to the adsorbent and some components will be carried farther up the plate than others. When the solvent has actually reached the optimal of the plate, the plate is removed from the emerging chamber, dried, and also the separated components of the mixture room visualized. If the compounds room colored, image is straightforward. Usually the compounds space not colored, for this reason a UV lamp is used to visualize the plates. (The bowl itself includes a fluorescent dye which glows almost everywhere except where an organic compound is on the plate.)

How To operation a TLC Plate


Step 1: Prepare the arising container

The occurring container for TLC have the right to be a specially designed chamber, a jar with a lid, or a beaker through a clock glass top top the height (the latter is provided in the undergrad labs at CU). Pour solvent right into the room to a depth of just less 보다 0.5 cm. To aid in the saturation of the TLC chamber with solvent vapors, you can line component of the inside of the beaker with filter paper. Cover the beaker through a watch glass, swirl it gently, and allow it to was standing while girlfriend prepare her TLC plate.

Step 2: Prepare the TLC plate

TLC plates supplied in the essential chem to teach labs room purchased as 5 centimeter x 20 cm sheets. Each big sheet is reduced horizontally right into plates which room 5 cm tall by assorted widths; the more samples you arrangement to operation on a plate, the more comprehensive it demands to be. Shown in the photo to the left is a box of TLC plates, a large un-cut TLC sheet, and also a small TLC plate which has been cut to a practically size. Manage the plates very closely so the you do not harass the coating that adsorbent or gain them dirty.
Measure 0.5 centimeter from the bottom that the plate. Making use of a pencil, attract a line throughout the plate in ~ the 0.5 centimeter mark. This is the origin: the line on i beg your pardon you will spot the plate. Take care not to push so difficult with the pencil the you annoy the adsorbent. Under the line, note lightly the name of the samples you will spot ~ above the plate, or note numbers for time points. Leave enough an are between the samples so that they carry out not operation together; about 4 samples top top a 5 cm vast plate is advised.

Step 3: point out the TLC plate

If the sample is not currently in solution, dissolve around 1 mg in 1 mL that a volatile solvent such as hexanes, ethyl acetate, or methylene chloride. Together a preeminence of thumb, a concentration the 1% commonly works well because that TLC analysis. If the sample is also concentrated, it will run as a smear or streak (see troubleshooting section below); if that is not focused enough, girlfriend will check out nothing top top the plate. Periodically you will need to use trial and error to get well-sized, basic to read spots.
Obtain a a microcapillary. In the organic teaching labs, we usage 10µL microcaps - they are easier to handle than the smaller sized ones supplied in research labs. Dip the microcap into the solution and then gently touch the end of it onto the suitable location top top the TLC plate. Don"t permit the spot to become too big - if necessary, you deserve to touch it come the plate, lift that off and also blow ~ above the spot. If girlfriend repeat this steps, the wet area ~ above the plate will continue to be small.
This instance plate has actually been spotted with three different quantities of the very same solution and is prepared to develop. If you are unsure of just how much sample come spot, you can always spot many quantities and also see i m sorry looks best.

Step 4: develop the plate

Place the ready TLC key in the occurring beaker, sheathe the beaker through the watch glass, and also leave it undisturbed on your bench top. The solvent will increase up the TLC bowl by capillary action. Make certain the solvent does not cover the spot.
Allow the bowl to build until the solvent is about half a centimeter listed below the top of the plate. Eliminate the plate native the beaker and immediately mark the solvent front v a pencil. Permit the plate to dry.

Step 5: Visualize the spots

If over there are any colored spots, circle castle lightly v a pencil. Many samples space not colored and also need to it is in visualized v a UV lamp. Hold a UV lamp over the plate and circle any kind of spots friend see. Beware! UV light is damaging both to your eyes and also to her skin! Make certain you space wearing her goggles and do no look directly into the lamp. Defend your skin by attract gloves.
If the TLC plate runs samples which are too concentrated, the spots will certainly be streaked and/or operation together. If this happens, girlfriend will have to start over through a an ext dilute sample come spot and run ~ above a TLC plate.
Here"s what overloaded plates look like contrasted to well-spotted plates. The plate on the left has actually a large yellow smear; this smear consists of the very same two compounds which room nicely resolved on the plate alongside it.

TLC Solvents Choice

When you need to determine the ideal solvent or mixture of solvents (a "solvent system") to build a TLC bowl or chromatography tower loaded v an unknown mixture, differ the polarity of the solvent in numerous trial runs: a procedure of trial and error. Very closely observe and record the results of the color layer analyzer in every solvent system. Girlfriend will uncover that as you rise the polarity the the solvent system, all the contents of the mixture move much faster (and vice versa through lowering the polarity). The ideal solvent system is just the mechanism that gives the ideal separation.

TLC elution trends usually lug over to obelisk chromatography elution patterns. Since TLC is a much quicker procedure than column chromatography, TLC is regularly used to recognize the finest solvent device for tower chromatography. For instance, in determining the solvent mechanism for a flash chromatography procedure, the ideal mechanism is the one that moves the wanted component that the mixture come a TLC Rf the 0.25-0.35 and also will different this ingredient from the nearest neighbor by distinction in TLC Rf worths of at the very least 0.20. As such a mixture is analyzed by TLC to determine the appropriate solvent(s) for a flash chromatography procedure.

Beginners frequently do not know where to start: What solvents have to they pull off the shelf to use to elute a TLC plate? since of toxicity, cost, and also flammability concerns, the typical solvents space hexanes (or petroleum ethers/ligroin) and also ethyl acetate (an ester). Diethyl ether deserve to be used, but it is very flammable and also volatile. Alcohols (methanol, ethanol) deserve to be used. Acetic mountain (a carboxylic acid) have the right to be used, typically as a tiny percentage component of the system, due to the fact that it is corrosive, non-volatile, really polar, and has irritating vapors. Acetone (a ketone) have the right to be used. Methylene chloride or and also chloroform (halogenated hydrocarbons) are an excellent solvents, but are toxic and should be avoided anytime possible. If two solvents room equal in performance and also toxicity, the much more volatile solvent is preferred in chromatography due to the fact that it will certainly be less complicated to eliminate from the wanted compound ~ isolation from a column chromatography procedure.

Ask the lab instructor what solvents are easily accessible and advisable. Then, mix a non-polar solvent (hexanes, a mixture that 6-carbon alkanes) through a polar solvent (ethyl acetate or acetone) in differing percent combinations to make solvent equipment of greater and also lesser polarity. The charts below should assist you in your solvent selection. Girlfriend can also download this pdf graph of elution order.


Interactions between the Compound and the Adsorbent

The toughness with i m sorry an necessary compound binding to one adsorbent depends on the toughness of the following species of interactions: ion-dipole, dipole-dipole, hydrogen bonding, dipole induced dipole, and also van der Waals forces. V silica gel, the dominant interactive forces between the adsorbent and also the products to it is in separated space of the dipole-dipole type. Extremely polar molecules interact reasonably strongly with the polar SiOH groups at the surface ar of these adsorbents, and also will often tend to stick or adsorb ~ above the fine particles of the adsorbent if weakly polar molecule are organized less tightly. Weakly polar molecules usually tend to relocate through the adsorbent an ext rapidly than the polar species. Roughly, the compounds monitor the elution order offered above.

The Rf value

The retention factor, or Rf, is identified as the street traveled through the compound split by the street traveled by the solvent.


For example, if a compound travels 2.1 cm and the solvent front travels 2.8 cm, the Rf is 0.75:


The Rf for a link is a continuous from one experiment come the next only if the chromatography conditions below are likewise constant:

solvent systemadsorbentthickness the the adsorbentamount of material spottedtemperature

Since these determinants are challenging to keep constant from experiment come experiment, loved one Rf worths are typically considered. "Relative Rf" means that the values room reported family member to a standard, or it way that you to compare the Rf values of compounds run on the same plate at the exact same time.

The larger an Rf the a compound, the bigger the street it travels on the TLC plate. As soon as comparing two different compounds operation under similar chromatography conditions, the compound v the bigger Rf is less polar due to the fact that it interacts much less strongly v the polar adsorbent ~ above the TLC plate. Vice versa, if you understand the structures of the compound in a mixture, you deserve to predict the a link of low polarity will have actually a larger Rf value than a polar compound run on the exact same plate.

The Rf can administer corroborative evidence regarding the identification of a compound. If the identification of a compound is suspected but not yet proven, an really sample of the compound, or standard, is spotted and run ~ above a TLC plate side by side (or on height of every other) with the link in question. If two substances have the very same Rf value, lock are likely (but no necessarily) the same compound. If lock have different Rf values, castle are certainly different compounds. Keep in mind that this identity examine must it is in performed top top a single plate, because it is complicated to duplicate all the determinants which affect Rf exactly from experiment to experiment.

Troubleshooting TLC

All that the above (including the procedure page) might sound prefer TLC is quite simple procedure. Yet what about the very first time you operation a TLC, and see spots everywhere and blurred, streaked spots? as with any technique, with exercise you obtain better. Instances of typical problems encountered in TLC:

The compound runs as a streak fairly than a spot: The sample was overloaded. Run the TLC again after diluting your sample. Or, your sample could just contain numerous components, creating many spots which operation together and appear as a streak. Perhaps, the experiment did not go as well as expected.The sample runs together a smear or a upward crescent: compounds which possess strongly acidic or an easy groups (amines or carboxylic acids) sometimes show up ~ above a TLC plate v this behavior. Include a few drops that ammonium hydroxide (amines) or acetic mountain (carboxylic acids) come the eluting solvent to achieve clearer plates.The sample runs as a bottom crescent: Likely, the adsorbent was disturbed during the spotting, leading to the crescent shape.The plate solvent front runs crookedly: either the adsorbent has actually flaked turn off the sides of the key or the sides of the key are touching the sides of the container (or the paper used to saturate the container) together the plate develops. Crooked plates make it harder to measure Rf values accurately.

See more: What Is The Difference Between A Whole Number And A Natural Number S

Many arbitrarily spots space seen on the plate: Make certain that you do not by chance drop any organic compound on the plate. If acquire a TLC plate and also leave that laying on her workbench as you carry out the experiment, you could drop or splash one organic link on the plate. You watch a blur that blue point out on the plate as it develops: probably you supplied an squid pen rather of a pencil to note the origin?No spots are seen top top the plate: You can not have actually spotted enough compound, perhaps since the systems of the compound is as well dilute. Try concentrating the solution, or clues it numerous times in one place, enabling the solvent come dry in between applications. Some compounds perform not show up under UV light; shot another technique of visualizing the bowl (such as staining or exposing come iodine vapor). Or, maybe you do not have any type of compound since your experiment did not go as well as planned. If the solvent level in the occurring jar is deeper than the beginning (spotting line) that the TLC plate, the solvent will certainly dissolve the compounds right into the solvent reservoir instead of permitting them to move up the bowl by capillary action. Thus, you will not watch spots ~ the plate is developed. These photos present how the yellow link is running right into the solvent once lifted native the arising jar.

TLC technique Quiz

See how well you know TLC by acquisition the digital TLC an approach Quiz!