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Solvent adsorption in SFC: Adsorption of methanol under supercritical conditions
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Lösningsmedelsadsorption i SFC (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Chromatography is a widely used separation technique including many different modes, for example supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) which uses a supercritical fluid as mobile phase. A supercritical fluid is achieved when a substance is subjected to a temperature and pressure above the critical point and the boundary between the liquid phase and gas phase is erased. The interest for SFC has increased in recent years, mainly for separation of chiral molecules in the pharmaceutical industry. What makes SFC interesting is that it is a quick, cost-efficient and green method. This is in part due to less organic solvent used in the mobile phase in SFC compared with liquid chromatography and that the carbon dioxide that represents the major part of the mobile phase is a by-product from other processes.

In SFC modifiers, often small alcohols, are added to carbon dioxide based mobile phase in order to increase the solubility of polar compounds. In this study the adsorption of methanol to two different stationary phases; Kromasil-Diol and chiral Lux Cellulose-4 were studied. Adsorption is a phenomenon where surface interactions crate a higher density of molecules at the surface than in the bulk.

The aim of this work has been to study the adsorption of modifier (methanol) to the stationary phase both to determine the extent of adsorption and the kinetics for system equilibration. These findings were then put into perspective of normal use of SFC for separation of molecules.

There are a number of techniques for measuring adsorption; in this study the tracer pulse method is used. This is a pulse method where a concentration plateau is created and an isotope labelled molecule is injected. This was performed in the mobile phase composition from pure carbon dioxide to pure methanol. In addition to the tracer pulse experiments the isotope effect, the eluent flow, equilibration times for the column and retention times for a set of analytes were measured. For the Diol column no large isotope effect was observed, the method was also proved to be highly reproducible since several runs gave consistent results. Calculations based on the experimental data showed that a 6.3 Å thick layer was built up at a methanol fraction of 13% (v/v), corresponding to a monolayer. Changes of the methanol fraction below the saturation level has has greater effect on the retention factor for the analytes than at higher methanol fractions, when the monolayer was saturated. The conclusion of this is that SFC is more stable in the area where the layer has been built up.

A preliminary study has been made for the chiral Lux Cellulose-4 column which was not as conclusive as for the Kromasil-Diol column. This type of column needs further studies to confirm the deviating observations and to investigate the cause for these.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 31 p.
Keyword [en]
SFC, excess adsorption isotherm, methanol, tracer pulse
National Category
Analytical Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-35185OAI: diva2:787342
External cooperation
Subject / course
Available from: 2015-02-10 Created: 2015-02-10 Last updated: 2015-02-10Bibliographically approved

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