Gas Chromatography Equipment

Everything you need to know about Gas chromatography: a brief history

Separating mixtures into its simplified components is called chromatography. There are several techniques wherein the process differs. It would be kind of familiar to hear the term, paper chromatography which is very common as a laboratory activity in schools. Though paper chromatography is common and easy to do, using gas for chromatography is said to be complex. It makes use of a tool called the gas chromatography equipment, making the process a little confusing. But if you fully understand the process, it would be easy for you to operate it.

Gas chromatography equipment is very essential for the process of separating and analysing compounds. Its parts are composed of the auto samplers, inlets, columns and detectors. These parts are very important for the stages of chromatography happen in these parts. This equipment was first devised by Fritz Prior, but at first, it was used for the solid state GC. But for over the years it was developed into different devices and finally, Erika Cremer administered on developing the final gas chromatography equipment. Before it became GC, there were several names with different processes that evolved to this one.

Dissecting the gas chromatography equipment’s parts: purposes for the process

Though it is composed of the four main parts, there are still additional devices that can be attached to the gas chromatograph equipment. Basically, the four main parts are the ones needed for the process to work, however, the additional parts play an important role and they support the main parts to work well. First of the four main parts is the auto samplers. From the term itself, this is very significant for it will automatically let the sample penetrate the next part of the device. It comes in different forms, depending on what the process is. There could be a manual sampler but it will be more convenient if the automatic one is used.

For the next part, the inlets, they work hand in hand with the auto samplers. Inlets are also known as injectors. From that word, you will have the idea on how it serves a purpose for the machine. Injectors are the ones responsible for the sample to enter the next part. In the GC process it is a major part for it will allow the sample to easily enter the columns. With the help of the inlets or injectors, the process is made easier.

The next part is absolutely the most important of all the parts. Columns are the most important for this is where the central process is done. The actual separation of the mixtures takes place in the columns, it is very important that you use the appropriate column material for the sample you have. Normally, columns are made of either metal or glass tubes. For the sample, it is good to determine the polarity and find the corresponding material for the column; it should be able to withstand the pressure brought by the oven. The columns are enclosed in an oven that is why it is a must that the material used for the columns are able to bear up the heat pressure.

It is not just the material of the column that varies, the forms also do. The column could either be a capillary or packed. It will also depend on the process on which form will be used. When the sample has successfully made it to the column, the process of the chromatography starts. The rate of the sample as it passes through the column can be computed, for it is directly proportional to the temperature of the column situated in the oven.

Detectors which is one of the main components of the gas chromatography equipment which has different purposes depending on which one will be used. Detectors come in different kinds too; the most popular ones are the flame ionization detector, flame photometric detector and the electron capture detector. These are the additional devices that are needed so that the whole gas chromatography process will be done. Mass spectrometer is also an additional device that is attached to the detectors. There are also some devices needed to compute for the concentration.

Defining the gas chromatography’s importance

Though the whole process sounds so complex, with proper guidance from an expert, it could be easy to understand the process. However, some people might think of how it will be needed for our lives. Even though it is not a common knowledge for everyone, it is sometimes used for forensic investigations. Asking how, by the process, a crime would be solved if the accused suspect is involved in it. For a crime that involves alcohol, it will serve as good evidence if the accused is known to be taking alcohol through his/her blood. Not just for forensic investigation, it is also able to detect if there is a presence of drugs in a person’s body.
Gas chromatography also serves a useful purpose for food and gasoline analysis. Though we are not aware of these things, it is a sure thing that this device and process will help us in times that we need it. Aside from that, GC is the key to some theories made by famous scientists and chemists to formulate equations that would lead to the discovery of things. Surely, it has opened new windows for discoveries and theories that would help mankind.

Concluding the complex process

GC has existed not just for the benefit of Science but for the whole world as well. Even explaining how the process happens, it would take time do it and you still have to interpret the results. Making the long definition shorter, gas chromatography is the process of separating the volatile constituents of a sample through the use of gas. Its definition is short but in depth explanation should be done. With its first, developer, the machine for the gas chromatography has been reconstructed, and even the process has been renamed yet it still arrived on the last one. It has been a long history for the GC and its equipment but still it managed to reach the modern time.

Operating the equipment needs a lot of effort and carefulness and interpreting the results should be done correctly. Through the conventional design of the device several other devices are added so that the separating process would be easier. And so it led to production of the other versions and even commercial ones were produced. For over the years, huge development on scientific machines was made, modifying the original one. Even so, it should always be remembered for its original purpose.

Gas chromatography is very useful for forensic investigations, food analysis, drug analysis and oil analysis. For some people, it would not cost them anything but in the future it may help without them knowing it. Of course, the most important thing that we need to know about this process is the equipment itself, a very difficult thing to understand but for sure it will serve you a useful purpose in the future.

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