Silica gel adsorbents are widely accepted as one of the best adsorbents that are used in column chromatography. One of the main benefits is that it has a huge affinity for absorption; besides, it is very easily available commercially in many different forms and sizes and there is a lot of research and information that is provided by the manufacturers on its numerous uses, especially in chromatography.
The Many Advantages of Using Silica Gel in Chromatography
One of the important criteria for opting for silica gel in chromatography is that it remains neutral and does not interact with any of the substances that are passed through it. It maintains its own stable structure throughout a process. Importantly, it can be regenerated or reused many times, cutting the costs of purification considerably. All it needs is to be heated to a specific temperature (about 150 * C), when it releases all the substances absorbed by it.
Silica gel is a polar adsorbent and being slightly acidic in nature, it has a powerful capacity to absorb basic contents that may be present in the material that needs separation or purification. It is also well known for its role in reversed phase partition chromatography. It has a wide range of applications that include the purification of lipids, steroids, amino acids, several dyes and alkaloids and for many other pharmaceutical processes.
Another important aspect of using silica gel in column chromatography is that it is possible to get the exact required size of the particle size for a specific procedure.
Chromatography has spread to various other dimensions and modifications for the separation and analysis of complex mixtures, and in most cases, silica gel is the most used. Over the years, chromatography has evolved tremendously in the process of separation and identification of a substance contained in a mixture. Silica gel is acknowledged as one of the most versatile and effective agents that can be used in chromatography.
One of the other advantages is that the separation of compounds, that are produced either synthetically or that occur in their normal state in nature, can be effectively achieved by the use of silica gel. The basic process involves that the mixture that needs purification is passed over a silica gel chromatography that separates the different components.