The Determination of the Best Separation Conditions for a Mixture of Preservatives of Varying Polarity Using HPLC: an ACELL Experiment

Document Type

Journal Article


Royal Australian Chemical Institute


Computing, Health and Science


School of Natural Sciences




This article was originally published as: Wajrak, M. , & Boyce, M. C. (2005). The determination of the best separation conditions for a mixture of preservatives of varying polarity using HPLC: an ACELL Experiment. Australian Journal of Education in Chemistry, vol. 65, pp. 20-23. Original article available here


Chromatography is a fundamental component of most analytical chemistry units in undergraduate science programs. Many gas chromatography (GC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) experiments tend to focus on the quantitative aspect of the technique (determination of benzoic acid in coca cola or ethanol in wine) [However, these experiments do not actively develop students understanding of the separation processes involved and method development (ie development of best separation conditions) is limited due to time constraints. To address these issues we have been active in developing experiments that promote understanding of the separation mechanisms involved. This aims of the experiment described here are to 1. Extend and develop students understanding of the mechanisms of separation in reversed phase (RP) chromatography 2. provide students with some experience in method development and 3. expose students to appropriate tools that can facilitate method development.