Influence of the errors made in the measurement of the extra-column volume on the accuracies of estimates of the column efficiency and the mass transfer kinetics parameters

Fabrice Gritti, Attila Felinger, Georges Guiochon

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The influences of the errors made in the measurement of the extra-column volume of an instrument on the accuracies of the estimates made of the column efficiency and of the parameters of the mass transfer kinetics were investigated from an experimental point of view. A standard HP1090 apparatus (extra-column volume, ≈ 50 μ L) was used to measure the efficiency of a Sunfire-C18 RPLC column (column hold-up volume, ≈ 1.50 mL). The first and second moments of the peaks of phenol (a retained compound) and of thiourea (a practically non-retained compound) were measured at six different temperatures between 22 and 78 °C, for flow rates between 0.10 and 4.70 mL/min (i.e., for linear velocities between 0.025 and 1.179 cm/s). Each series of measurements was successively made with the instrument being fitted with and without the column. The experimental HETP data must be corrected for the solute dispersion in the connected tubes in order properly to assess the true column efficiency. Even with a modern, high performance instrument, the dispersion of a non-retained compound is essentially due to the band broadening phenomena that take place in the extra-column volumes, the sum of all these extra-column band broadening contributions accounting for more than 80% of the total band broadening measured. The contribution of the sampling device is particularly deleterious since, for a 2 μ L injection, the maximum solute concentration in the peak that enters into the column is nearly ten-fold lower than that of the sample. Nevertheless, the impact of the extra-column volumes on the estimates of the kinetic parameters (e.g., molecular diffusion coefficient Dm and effective particle diffusivity De) remains negligible. Obviously, the relative error made on the column efficiency of a retained compound depends much on its retention factor. It decreases from 8 to 1% when the retention factor increases from 5 to 17.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 8 2006



  • Accuracy of HETP
  • Column efficiency
  • Extra-column volume
  • HETP
  • Mass transfer
  • Phenol
  • Solute dispersion
  • Sunfire-C
  • van Deemter curves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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