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This learning module provides an interactive introduction to chromatography with an emphasis on understanding basic chromatographic terms and measurements, and on understanding the factors that affect the quality of a separation. The treatment is independent of the form of chromatography and, although data from GC and HPLC experiments are used to illustrate topics presented in some investigations, no emphasis is placed on particular chromatographic techniques. The module consists of the following nine investigations:

• Investigation 1: A First Look at a Chromatogram
• Investigation 2: A Closer Look at the Separation
• Investigation 3: Partition Coefficients and Retention Factors
• Investigation 4: Theoretical Plates
• Investigation 5: A First Look at Chromatographic Resolution
• Investigation 6: A Closer Look at Chromatographic Resolution
• Investigation 7: Improving Resolution Through Efficiency
• Investigation 8: Improving Resolution Through Selectivity
• Investigation 9: Improving Resolution Through Retention

Each investigation consists of a brief introduction, data to manipulate, and a series of questions that guide students in how to explore this data.


Table of Contents

This learning module is programmed in R (Link) using the Shiny package (Link) to produce an interactive web-based application. The preferred method for using the application is to run it from within an R session using Shiny by entering

shiny::runGitHub(“IntroChromatography”, “dtharvey”)

into the R console. To download R and Shiny, see the links above.

To access the learning module without the need for a local installation of R, use the version hosted at (Link); however, access to the hosted version may be limited during periods of high demand.

  • Hosted Version (Link)
  • Github Code (Link)
  • Instructor’s Guide (PDF)
  • Assessment Questions: For Assessment questions that accompany this module, please contact David Harvey (

Developed by:

Dr. David Harvey
DePauw University