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Determination of Free-Energy Relationships Using Gas Chromatography
Journal of Chemical Education (1996)
  • Nicholas Snow
By performing a few straightforward analyses on a gas chromatograph, it is possible to calculate the free energy, enthalpy, and entropy changes that occur when a compound transfers between the mobile and stationary phases. The partition theory of chromatography allows this transfer to be expressed as a chemical equlibrium. By calculating the equilibrium constant for this reaction from chromatographic retentiontimes, the standard free energy change may be determined, and from this, the standard enthalpy and entropy changes. Also, by calculating these values at several temperatures for structurally related compounds, it is possible to explore the relationship between chromatographic retention, standard free energy, and the structure of a compound. These calculations were performed for groups of homologous alcohols, acetates, and hydrocarbons on packed and capillary column gas chromatographs, using both polar and non-polar columns, and on computer simulation software. It is seen that for homologous compounds, the relationship between standard free energy change in partitioning and hydrocarbon chain length for this reaction is linear. It is also seen that gas chromatography represents a useful tool for the calculation and comparison of thermodynamic properties of compounds and that straightforward exercise of this type allows training of students in chromatographic analysis, basic partition theory, thermodynamic relationships, and linear free energy relationships.
  • Gas chromatography
Publication Date
Citation Information
Nicholas Snow. "Determination of Free-Energy Relationships Using Gas Chromatography" Journal of Chemical Education Vol. 73 Iss. 6 (1996) p. 592
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