Chromatography It's what's on the inside that counts

When doing this experiment expect to see colors (non-primary) spliting into their primary colors. This is a physical reaction.

A physical reaction is where the substance never changes, but it does change form.

This demonstrates a physical reaction by the colors staying the same substance, but turning into different colors.

Before starting your experiment you'll need to gather the following items

  • Filter paper (coffee filters work too)
  • Drinking glasses (clear)
  • Pencils
  • Permanent marker (felt-tip pens/highlighters as substitute non-primary colors)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler (if you want to be really precise)
  • Duct tape ( binder clips also work)
  • Nail polish remover

Steps to follow

  1. Gather all aforesaid materials
  2. Take the filter paper and the scissors and cut several strips about a half-inch wide. If you have precut paper you can skip this step
  3. Take one of the srips of paper and draw a line on it spanning the width of the paper. Make the line about half an inch above the end of the paper. (Note: Do step three with one of the markers/pens you wish to test)
  4. Repeat step three on different strips of the filter paper. (Note: If you need to you can cut more strips of filter paper)
  5. Tape or secure one of the peices of filter paper to the pencil. (Note: Depending on the height of your cup you may need to cut/ tape your filter paper to the pencil differently)
  6. Then grab the nail polish remover and place a small amount in one of the clear cups.
  7. Grab one of the pencils with filter paper attached to it and place the pencil on top of the cup.
  8. Wait until you can see the different colors that are in the base color.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 on other peices of filter paper as many times as your heart desires.

Video of the experiment following the steps above


Created with images by cmart29 - "colour smoke rainbow"

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