Chromatography, a growing market valued at about $10 billion in sales by 2020, has exceeded growth expectations. In fact, the market has been expanding at a rate of more than 3.7 percent per year since 2017. Moreover, a report released in 2019 by techNavioPlus, predicts a 7% increase in the global chromatography market by 2023, with an increase in competitors globally. Forecasters believe the value of the market will increase by $4.75 billion, with 39% of that growth in North America alone. For example, one of the key drivers will be the growing demand for portable analytics systems. Also, another is the growing demand for purity in products and protection of environmental resources.
Precision Electronic Glass (PEG) provides custom components for the chromatography market including inlet filters, inlet liners, syringes, and injectors for equipment and replacement parts across all markets where the science of chromatology is relevant.
Understanding the Industry and its Markets
Chromatography is a versatile method of separating and analyzing the components or solutions within complex chemical mixtures. For instance, it is widely in use across multiple market segments and there are hundreds of uses for it in our daily lives. To learn more about these applications, check out Chromatography Today.
The industry consists of three main segments:
- Systems — liquid and gas chromatography instruments including HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography), GC (gas chromatography), TLC (thin layer chromatography) and their components such as detectors and HPLC pumps.
- Consumables — columns, injectors, vials and myriads of other parts to use and discard.
- End users — the main actors include pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology, food and environment along with many other smaller users.
What Exactly is Chromatography?
Some materials appear solid, but they are really several substances. For example, green plants contain a mixture of different pigments. In addition, the black ink in pens is a mixture of different color materials. In many instances, we can separate these materials by dissolving them in an appropriate liquid and allowing them to move through an absorbent matrix, like paper.
Chromatography is a method scientists use to separate organic and inorganic compounds in order to analyze and study them. By analyzing a compound, a scientist can figure out what makes up that compound. Similarly, chromatography is a great physical method for observing mixtures and solvents.
The word chromatography means “color writing” which is a way that a chemist can test liquid mixtures. While studying the coloring materials in plant life, a Russian botanist, Mikhail Tswett, invented chromatography in 1903.
The Uses for Chromatography
This is such an important technique that two Nobel prizes have been awarded to chromatographers. More than 60% of chemical analysis worldwide occurs with chromatography or a variation of it. In fact, it is used in many different ways. For instance, people use chromatography to find out what is in a solid or a liquid. It is also used to determine what unknown substances are. The police, F.B.I., and other detectives use it when trying to solve a crime. It is also used to determine the presence of cocaine in urine, alcohol in blood, PCB’s in fish, and lead in water. Chromatography is used by many different people in many different ways.
How Chromatography Works
Chromatography is based on differential migration. The solutes in a mobile phase go through a stationary phase. Solutes with a greater affinity for the mobile phase will spend more time in this phase than the solutes that prefer the stationary phase. As the solutes move through the stationary phase they separate. This is chromatographic development.
In all chromatography, there is a mobile phase and a stationary phase. The stationary phase is the phase that doesn’t move and the mobile phase is the phase that does move. The mobile phase moves through the stationary phase picking up the compounds for testing. As the mobile phase continues to travel through the stationary phase it takes the compounds with it. At different points in the stationary phase, the different components of the compound are absorbed and stop moving with the mobile phase. Therefore, this is how the results of any chromatography are gotten, from the point at which the different components of the compound stop moving and separate from the other components.
In paper and thin-layer chromatography the mobile phase is the solvent. The stationary phase in paper chromatography is the strip or piece of paper that is placed in the solvent. In thin-layer, the stationary phase is the thin-layer cell. Both these kinds use capillary action to move the solvent through the stationary phase.
The Different Types of Chromatography
There are four main types of chromatography — liquid, gas, thin-layer, and paper.
Liquid Chromatography tests the world’s water samples to look for pollution in lakes and rivers. It also analyzes metal ions and organic compounds in solutions. This version uses liquids which may incorporate hydrophilic, insoluble molecules.
Gas Chromatography in airports detects bombs and also works in forensics in many different ways. It analyzes fibers on a person’s body and also blood found at a crime scene. In the gas version, helium moves a gaseous mixture through a column of absorbent material.
Thin-layer Chromatography uses an absorbent material on flat glass or plastic plates. This is a simple and rapid method to check the purity of an organic compound. It detects pesticide or insecticide residues in food. Thin-layer in forensics analyzes the dye composition of fibers.
Paper Chromatography is one of the most common types. It uses a strip of paper as the stationary phase. Capillary action pulls the solvents up through the paper and separates the solutes.
If you are currently in the chromatography industry or you are considering it, let our team at Precision Electronic Glass help you with your custom components.
PEG’s mission is to provide customized glass and quartz products and related products and services to OEMs and distributors around the world in countries where our customers operate. Our objective is to fabricate the finest precision glass and quartz components and assemblies to customers’ specifications. Working together with customers, PEG manufactures prototypes; handles small to large production runs; performs value-added assembly, and provides clean room processing when specifications dictate the need for it.
Utilizing standard or computer-controlled glass lathe fabrication; glass-to-glass and glass-to-metal graded seals; cutting and end finishing; and precision grinding/polishing, PEG produces a variety of components and value-added assemblies, including medical, dental, or industrial glass X-ray tubes, and CO2 or HeNe lasers. We produce all glass and quartz fabrications in facilities certified to ISO 9001:2015 standards of quality. Our commitment to quality and integrity in everything we do is reflected in our mission statement, corporate values, and quality policy.