Analytical Separation Methods
Reference CHCHEM00000039
Taught in General Course List Third Year Bachelor of Chemistry
Theory (A) 20.0
Exercises (B) 29.0
Training and projects (C) 0.0
Studytime (D) 125.0
Studypoints (E) 5
Credit contract? Access is determined after successful competences assessment
Examination contract? This course can not be taken through this kind of contract
Credit contract mandatory if Exam contract? Separate credit contract mandatory
Retake possible? Yes
Teaching Language English
Lecturer Patrick Sandra
Department WE07
Key Words

Extraction, chromatography, electrophoresis

Position of the Course

Clarifying why separation methods often play an important role in chemical analysis. Providing insight into the most important analytical separation methods (with emphasis on solvent extraction, chromatography and electrophoresis). An active mastering of the basic principles is aimed at and should enable the student to solve problems in this application field.


  • Introduction: importance of separation methods, nature of the separation process, recovery and separation factor, classification of chemical separation methods.
  • Separation based on selective precipitation.
  • Separation based on selective volatilisation.
  • Extraction. Theoretical treatment of and instrumentation for solvent extraction. Counter current distribution as a historical method. Solid phase extraction (SPE). Supercritical fluid extraction (SFE).
  • Chromatography: basic principles of a chromatographic separation, classification of chromatographic methods, types of chromatographic development, introduction of basic concepts (among other distribution isotherms and peak shapes, column efficiency and Van Deemter plot, relative retention ratio, resolution, qualitative and quantitative analysis via chromatography).
  • Gas chromatography: Principles of and instrumentation for GC analysis, including column types, stationary phases and detector types.
  • Liquid chromatography: Principles of and instrumentation for (HP)LC analysis, including among other column types and detectors. Various types of LC: adsorption, (normal phase and reversed phase) partition, ion exchange and size exclusion chromatography.
  • Planar chromatography: Principles of and instrumentation for paper chromatography (PC) and thin layer chromatography (TLC).
  • Electrophoresis. Basic principles of and instrumentation for electrophoretic separation methods.

Starting Competences

Via the courses ‘General chemistry’ and ‘Basic Principles of Analytical Chemistry’, the incoming student has sufficient insight into chemical equilibria (precipitation, acid-base, complex formation en reduction-oxidation reactions) and properties such as solubility and polarity, which play an important role in the context of chemical separation methods. The courses ‘Spectroscopic methods of analysis’ and ‘Physical chemistry II: electrochemistry’ have provided the necessary background to understand the operating principles of the various detector types in use in chromatography.

Final Competences

The student has gained insight into the general concepts of the most important analytical separation methods and can apply this knowledge to solve chemical problems in this context. Although not introduced to the technical details of the instrumentation, the student should be aware of the capabilities and limitations of the instrumental methods chromatography and electrophoresis.

Teaching and Learning Material

Syllabus in Dutch (10 €)
Notes for practical exercises


Chemical Analysis : Modern instrumentation, methods and techniques, Francis Rouessac and Annick Rouessac, John Wiley & Sons, 2000, ISBN 0-471-97261-4.
Principles of Instrumental Analysis (5th ed), Douglas A. Skoog, F. James Holler and Timothy A. Nieman, Brooks Cole, 1997, ISBN 0-03-002078-6.

Course Content-Related Study Coaching

Via problem solving sessions: development of the insights and skills required to solve chemical problems.
Via practical exercises: providing insight into the practical aspects, capabilities and limitations of chemical separation methods.
Possibility of contacting course instructor and/or AAP for additional individual explanation.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, problem solving sessions, practical exercises.

Evaluation Methods

Periodical (end of semester)

Examination Methods

Written examination with oral explanation. Marked exercises during practical exercises.
Evaluation of understanding of basic concepts and ability to use these concepts in problem-solving.

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