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ERIC Number: EJ1043263
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Identification of Paper by Stationary Phase Performance
Smith, Michael J.; Vale, Ilda C.; Gray, Fiona M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n10 p 1679-1683 Oct 2014
Paper is an extraordinary example of a composite engineering material with practical use in a huge variety of applications. Since its invention in China, there have been many alterations to manufacturing techniques, component formulation, and surface finishing, yet the essential characteristics of paper have not changed greatly. The objective of this experiment is to demonstrate that the chromatographic performance of paper as a stationary phase may be used to distinguish between externally similar materials. The procedure developed is so simple that even students with little exposure to practical chemistry and limited chemical knowledge can understand the essential content. Because of the ubiquitous nature of paper, it is often recovered from crime scenes as evidence for analysis. However, the variety of sources and the mechanical or chemical properties often make demonstration of unequivocal correlation between "questioned" and "known" or "reference" samples a complex task. Introducing the practical session as a crime scene investigation, and presenting the laboratory exercise as an accessible forensic technique for paper identification, adds an exciting dimension to the practical experience for young people. The authors' application of this strategy has been successfully extended as it has become evident that the experiment motivates a surprisingly wide range of audiences.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A