|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Dear Kelli, Thanks to a useful hint by the Administrator, the explanation of your findings is not very difficult: Your fingernail polish is most probably colored by PIGMENTS. These are INSOLUBLE, very fine powders of coloring matter. Since paper chromatograhy relies on a dissolution/adsorption equilibrium, you can only analyse SOLUBLE substances by this method. In some other fingernail polishes, colorants are chemically bound to POLYMERS, which are also rather difficult to get to move on paper chromatographs. An important thing to heed when doing paper chromatography, especially with volatile solvents, is to keep the paper in a saturated atmosphere of the solvent vapor before and during the process (i.e. in a closed jar). The main component of nail polish remover is generally ethyl acetate, which is a good solvent of relatively low toxicity. Best Regards Werner Sieber
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