TLC plate solvent choice

I was doing the Esterification TLC technique in Organic chemistry. I read that the solvent used in the TLC chamber is 20% Ethyl Acetate in Hexane. I was wondering about having the ability to choose a solvent mixture, which could improve the understanding of the technique. A more polar polar solvent would demonstrate the change how the solvent affect the results. And it could teach the proper selection trial and error style for different compounds. Seeing how the spots initial and final locations change based on the choice of solvent. And consequently, the Rf value change as a result of parameter change.

Hi @Arabella

You cannot change the solvent system for TLC at this time, although that would be great for the reasons you mentioned!


Dr. Laurie Starkey (Cal Poly Pomona) created a great TLC simulation that allows students to manually adjust elution solvent ratios to visualize the effect on Rf values. I added this activity to one of the Beyondlabz experiments to round out my intro to TLC. Here is the link:

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