Upper Sixth Chemistry students are in their element

Truro School’s Upper Sixth Chemistry students have been busy in the lab doing something quite unusual today.

Today, as part of their A-Level Chemistry course, the Sixth Form’s aspiring Upper Sixth scientists conducted a column chromatography practical to separate the chlorophyll pigments in dandelion leaves.

Although this is normally taught as a theory-based lesson in the A-Level Chemistry course, the Truro School science department has invested in some exciting new column chromatography equipment to allow the students to carry out this complex and interesting practical in the lab as part of their A-Level Chemistry experience.

The experiment saw students begin by crushing dandelion leaves with solvent in order to extract the green pigment. Each pair set up a column containing silica which acted as a solid phase. The students then entered the crushed plant material at the top of the column and watched as it moved down through the silica. Transported by the solvent mobile phase, the different components separated. The resulting coloured bands revealed the different chlorophyll pigments present in the leaves.

Head of Chemistry, Anna Brogden, finished by saying,

“Students enjoy this practical immensely and it really helps them to understand the theory behind chromatography whilst doing something akin to Chemical Analysis in Industry.”