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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 363-366

Analysis of Nitroaromatic Explosives by High Performance Liquid Chromatography: A Laboratory Exercise for Quantitative Analysis

Darcey G. Wayment* and Glenn V. Lo

Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA 70301,
Received August 15, 2014. Accepted September 25, 2014.

Published: 5 December 2014

Abstract. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is introduced to second and third year chemistry students through the analysis of organic explosives. The method, based on EPA Method 8330A, separates a mixture of eight nitroaromatic explosives on a reverse phase C18 column. Students identify the components of an unknown solution and then report the amount of each component, along with the experimental uncertainty for each. The lab takes place over two 3–hour periods. Students are introduced to the concepts of sample preparation, standards preparation, external calibration methods and methods of unknown identification. This experiment allows students to gain an understanding of the principles of HPLC while analyzing samples with real-world significance.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; quantitative analysis; HPLC

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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