For most organic reaction mixture purifications the process is fairly straightforward. Use hexane/ethyl acetate or, for polar compounds, DCM/MeOH. But what do you do if this doesn’t work and your compounds are basic organic amines?
Usually, a 2-solvent or binary gradient will separate your desired compound from the by-products and impurities. Sometimes though, you can encounter a mixture in which some compounds co-elute and are not separable with any binary gradient you try.
This is an interesting question that I am asked from time to time. There does seem to be two camps in which chemists reside – one believing longer and thinner columns provide better separations and the other preferring shorter and fatter columns to do the same chromatography.
Are you observing more chromatographic peaks than you expect compared to TLC or other assessment data? Well, it could be that your method is separating some isomers or, it could be that there is an actual method issue.