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Reading Selection, Lesson 17

Introducing Paper Chromatography

The technique you used to separate the dyes in the green ink is called paper chromatography. The patterns produced on the paper are called a chromatogram. Chromatography works because the ink you used consists of several dyes of different colors that are dissolved in water. Each dye is a different solute and moves at a different speed through the chromatography paper. Just like cars traveling at various speeds on a highway, the faster solutes move ahead of the others and eventually become separated from them. The speed at which each solute moves through the paper depends on the solubility of the solute in the solvent (water). The more soluble dyes move faster than the less soluble ones.

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