HPLC Column Selection Guide to Help You Achieve the Best Separation

by | Articles, Liquid Chromatography

Dr Christian Hirsch from Shodex has compiled a comprehensive HPLC column selection guide to help you select the right HPLC column for your application and achieve the best separation out of your HPLC measurements.

The guide is categorized by five principal different starting points for your selection:

  • Selection by base material
  • Selection by HPLC separation mode
  • Selection by functional group
  • Selection by area of application
  • Selection by analyte

Selection by Base Material
In principal, two major base materials for selection can be used: silica-based and polymer-based resins. Many silica HPLC producers are claiming the wording “fully endcapped”. This means due to the sterical hindrance of the endcapping procedure, only around 50% of the free silanol groups can be bonded and protected. In order to answer the question if a silica-based HPLC is suitable for the analyte it is crucial to know which adsorptive interaction can happen. Amines, basic substances or very polar substances show bad performance due to that reason on silica-based HPLC columns. In addition if a higher pH value (>7) needs to be used silica is not the best choice as a base material. 

The described negative aspects of silica as a base material can be overcome by using a chemically inert polymer, where silanol groups are not present at all and, therefore, an end-capping process is not needed.

Selection by HPLC Separation Mode
A wide variety of separation modes can be achieved by using particular combinations of stationary and mobile phases. The guide includes a table providing an overview about the most common used separation techniques and a short explanation of those.

Selection by Functional Group
In HPLC columns many very different functional groups as a surface modification are used. Examples are provided in the guide. All functional groups fulfill different options, such as spacer functionality, reversing the polarity, ligand exchange and many more.

Selection by Area of Application
There are a great variety of applications and to facilitate the appropriate selection of HPLC column, the guide provides a breakdown of the possible selection criteria looking at areas such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, food, new materials, biotechnology and the environment.

Selection by Analyte
If the only available information is the analyte it is rather difficult to give a general selection guide. In such a case it is best to contact Shodex's technical experts in Munich in order to break down your analyte either by its chemical composition and/or chemical behaviour and your intended resultant aim. Furthermore a huge application database is available at www.shodex.de that is helpful in finding many analytes already measured with ideal preconditions and sample preparations.

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