Tables for
Volume C
Mathematical, physical and chemical tables
Edited by E. Prince

International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. C, ch. 3.2, pp. 157-158

Section Suitable substances for columns

F. M. Richardsa Suitable substances for columns

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Some representative liquids are listed in Table[link]; all are readily available. For further information, see Meyrowitz, Cuttitta & Hickling (1959[link]), and for very heavy liquids Sullivan (1927[link]). Standardized solutions or mixtures from one list in Table[link] may be used as calibrating drops in gradients made from those of the other.

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Possible substances for use as gradient-column components

Hydrophobic componentsHydrophilic components
LiquidApproximate density at 298 K (g ml−1)αSoluteApproximate maximum density of concentrated aqueous solution at 298 K (g ml−1)
Isooctane (2-methylheptane) 0.69 −0.8 Sodium chloride 1.20
Kerosene 0.79 −0.5 −0.8 Potassium chloride 1.40
m-Xylene 0.86 −0.85 Potassium iodide 1.63
Chlorobenzene 1.10 −1.1 Iron(III) sulfate 1.80
Bromobenzene 1.49 −1.3 Zinc bromide 2.00
Carbon tetrachloride 1.60 −1.9 Zinc iodide 2.39
Methyl iodide 2.28 −2.7 Thallium(I) formate 3.5
Bromoform 2.89 −0.9 Thallium(I) formate–malonate 4.3
s-Tetrabromoethane 2.96 −2.2    
Methylene iodide 3.32 −2.6 Ficoll (60% w/w in water) 1.25

The density at temperature T K can be computed by substituting the values of the density at 298 K and α in the formula dT = d298 + 10−3α(T − 298).
Trade name for a synthetic high-molecular-weight polysaccharide derivative.

For rapid preparation of mixtures from stock solutions of the basic compounds, a nomogram is very useful, such as is given in Fig.[link] for the system bromobenzene–xylene at room temperature. In the construction of the nomogram, it has been assumed that the volumes of the liquids are additive. In general, this assumption is not valid, but it is a sufficiently good approximation for the purpose.


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Nomogram for the preparation of bromobenzene–xylene gradient column components at room temperature. From the desired component density and total volume, the required amount of bromobenzene is read from the chart, the volume difference being made up with xylene. To adapt this chart to any other pair of liquids, it is only necessary to change the component density scale. A uniform scale is drawn up such that the density of the heavy liquid lies at the point A while that of the light liquid is at B. The volume scales may be multiplied by any constant factor in order to change their range.


Meyrowitz, R., Cuttitta, F. & Hickling, N. (1959). A new diluent for bromoform in heavy liquid separation of minerals. Am. Mineral. 44, 884–885.
Sullivan, J. D. (1927). Heavy liquids for mineralogical analyses. US Bur. Mines Tech. Pap. No. 381.

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