How to Optimize TLC to Enhance Purification by Flash Chromatography

In this article I discuss the optimization of solvent ratios to generate ideal Rf (retention factor) values on TLC plates.  Then I show how maximizing efficiency of flash chromatography achieves higher loading with rapid and reliable isolation of compounds, reduced solvent use and improved separation.

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Published by

Bob Bickler

Technical Specialist, Biotage

6 thoughts on “How to Optimize TLC to Enhance Purification by Flash Chromatography”

  1. Sir my question is Does it also depend on silica size
    Rf my compound has Rf value 0.5 in tlc in 15 percent Ethyl acetate hexane
    I do gravity column without pressure
    Should I choose the same solvent system for 60 120 silica & 100 200 silica?

    1. Hi Diksha,

      Particle size should have little, if any, impact on elution. A compound with an Rf of 0.5 will require 2 CV to elute (maximum concentration) assuming all other physical properties for the silica are the same (surface area, porosity, hydration level, surface chemistry). A larger particle silica will impact the compound’s band-broadening or collection volume so it may elute earlier and finish eluting later than the smaller particle silica.

  2. Hello,
    First of all, I want to thank you for your very very very helpful blog. I found the answer to many of my questions here.
    I also have a question. Does the conversion of Rf to CV (TLC to flash column) only apply to flash chromatography or it is also used for simple column chromatography with no pressure on the solvent?

    1. Hello Zary,

      First, thank you for your complement on the blog. I am happy you have found it helpful.

      Your question is a good one. The answer is yes, the same Rf to TLC conversion rules apply whether the chromatography is open column (gravity), automated flash, or even normal-phase HPLC.

  3. Could you be so kind in sending us a sample copy of the article to relation flash column chromatography to TLC.
    Best regards.
    Sincerely your´s:

    Jorge Hernán Prieto
    INTI – Rubber Research Center


    1. Hi Jorge,

      Many thanks for reading the blog, I hope you have found it useful. I believe you can print any of the post just by right-clicking on the article then clicking print.

      If there are other posts you wish to read on the same topic please take a look at the following…

      Invest 10 minutes and save a day of grief
      Using TLC to scout flash chromatography solvents
      How do I choose the right column size

      Please let me know if you need something else.

      These three also explore the TLC/flash column relationship.

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