Acetone – a lower cost alternative to EtOAc in normal-phase flash column chromatography

Acetone, as you know, is a terrific solvent.  It dissolves many organic molecules, evaporates easily, is both water and organic soluble, and is cheap (relatively).  These attributes tell me it should be a good polar modifier for normal-phase flash chromatography.

There is one attribute that keeps chemists from using acetone in chromatography – its strong UV absorbance above 250 nm which can mask compound detection and make UV-triggered peak fractionation a challenge, especially aromatic compounds. However, with some state-of-the-art flash systems, mobile phase UV absorption is zeroed in real time enabling the use of UV absorbing solvents such as acetone.

In this post I discuss some reasons to explore switching to acetone and how modern flash chromatography equipment deals the UV-absorbing mobile phase solvents.

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Published by

Bob Bickler

Technical Specialist, Biotage

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