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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 4 Issue 6 (1999) pp 226-230

A Computer-based, Interactive, Multimedia Software System for Teaching and Independent Student Learning of Liquid Chromatography

Michelle A. Spaziani, Justin T. Fermann, and William J. Vining*

Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003-4510

Published online: 1 December 1999

Abstract. This paper describes the design and development of an interactive, simulation-based education software system for the exploration of key concepts in liquid chromatography. Evaluation results of student use of the software will be presented.

Software modules have been designed to supplement, but not replace, classroom and laboratory learning about liquid chromatography, providing students with theory, visual aids, and interactive simulations. Combined with animations and narration, the modules complement the foundation on which chromatography is taught in a general, analytical, or organic chemistry setting. Furthermore, this software allows the student to interact with the illustrated chemistry lessons, which is especially important in instances where the concepts taught transcend typical classroom material.

This work serves to connect what one observes experimentally in a chromatography experiment to changing parameters such as capacity factor, number of theoretical plates, height equivalent of a theoretical plate, column length, resolution, retention time, and selectivity factor. Simulated separations are portrayed in an animated fashion as a chromatogram developing over time as a function of one or more of these variables. Finally, the software has real sample, mobile phase, column type, flow rate, and detection type options allowing the selection and simulation of solving a realistic chromatography problem. Hypothetical unknown mixtures can be separated and the sample components identified after simulating the separation of known samples.

Key Words: Computers in Chemistry;  analytical chemistry; organic chemistry; chromatography; computer-assisted instruction; teaching/learning aids; multimedia

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: {

Article in PDF format (438 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Quiz (10 K) 10.1007/s00897990338b
Instructor's Notes (55 K) 10.1007/s00897990338b
Author's software (33 KB) 10.1007/s00897990338c

Issue date: December 1, 1999

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