CHEM 230 – Chemical Separations



Instructor:  Roy Dixon

Office: 446C

Lecture Meeting: Tuesday 5:30 – 8:00 pm,

Tentative Office Hours: Mon. 12-1, Tues. 4:30-5:30, and Wed. 9:30-10:30

Phone Number: 278-6893           email:

Class Web Page:

Textbook: "Chromatography - Concepts and Contrasts", 2nd Edition by James M. Miller, John Wiley & Sons (2005) Hoboken, NJ.

Additional reading assignments will be given.


Course Description:  Chemical Separations are used in the isolation and/or analysis of chemicals in a variety of media for solving numerous problems.  This course will emphasize the theory and some basic applications of methods of separations.  Types of separations covered will include simple one-step separations, chromatographic separations, and other advanced types of separation like electrophoresis.  The course will include detailed theory of separations from partitioning across phases to understanding what affects separation performance in chromatography.  Modern gas chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography, particularly for analysis of complex samples will be emphasized.  A portion of the course will emphasize student directed learning/teaching.


Tentative Schedule (This may change somewhat):

Date                 Main Subject(s)                                                             Text Pages                              

Aug. 28            Introduction / simple separations                                     1-30; 387-398

Sept. 4              Liquid-liquid extractions                                                 398-412           

Sept. 11            Advanced extraction procedures                                   

Sept. 18            Introduction to chromatography I                                    35-64

Sept. 18           Quiz 1 (Extractions)

Sept. 25            Theory of chromatographic separations                           64-91; 93-101

Oct. 2               Optimization; GC                                                           109-115; 117-124; 141-147

Oct. 9               GC                                                                               148-176; 423-427

Oct. 9              Quiz 2 (Chromatographic Theory)

Oct. 16             SFC, LC                                                                       124-134; 183-214

Oct. 23             LC                                                                               214-258

Oct. 30             Quantitation                                                                  277-306

Oct. 30            Quiz 3 (GC/SFC/LC)

Nov. 6              Mass Spectrometry                                                       309-326

Nov. 13            MS/Electrophoretic Methods                                          365-383

Nov. 20            Additional Topics/Student Presentations I

Nov. 20           Quiz 4 (last topics)

Nov. 27            Student Presentations II

Dec. 4              Student Presentations III

Dec. 4              Quiz 5 (Based on Student Presentations I to II)

Dec. 11            Final Exam 5:15-7:15

Grading:  Grades will be calculated based on the following criteria:  top 4 out of 5 quizzes (48%), final exam (30%), presentation (8%), applications paper (6%), homework (8%).


Quizzes:  There will be five quizzes of 30 min each (during the first 30 min. of class).  Since only the top 4 out of 5 quizzes will be counted, there will be no make-up quizzes.  The quizzes will cover both problem solving methodology and general knowledge of topics.  The last quiz will cover materials presented by students on special topics assigned to the class (up to the previous week’s presentation). 


Final Exam:  The final exam will be comprehensive covering all topics covered by the instructor and special topics covered in student presentation.  A little more weight will be given to the topics covered in student presentations given on the last lecture as these will not be covered in any of the quizzes.


Presentations:  The core topics will be taught by the instructor.  Students will be sign up to research and present more specialized separation topics for part or all of the last 3 class meetings.  There will be a list of topics to choose from.  There will be a couple of specialized separation topics covered by the instructor as examples.  Students will work either in pairs to research topics, come up with a set of readings for the class (e.g. journal review article), example problems, and a presentation describing the topic.  Some time will be reserved for asking questions and for general discussion of these topics.  More specific information will be given on the presentations at a later date.


Applications Paper:  An important part to separations is in its applications to chemical or related scientific problems.  You will be asked to research a specific research problem of your own choice (e.g. determination of phenols in wine) in which recent chromatographic improvements are made.  You will write a brief report (4 to 5 pages + figures and references) indicating why the improvements are useful and providing specific information requested by the instructor.  This is meant to be broader in scope than a homework assignment but less involved than a term paper.


Homework:  There will be two types of homework problems.  One type will be for your benefit for practicing for quizzes.  These problems will be neither collected nor graded.  The second type will be more involved.  The second type of questions will be collected and graded.


Assignment of grades:  The break-down of grades will depend on the class average (in other words be curved), but a higher class average will result in more high grades. The following grading scheme (excluding +’s and –‘s) can be considered "typical":
A 90 – 100%
B 79 – 90%
C 67 – 79%
D 56 – 67%


Policy on cheating:  Cheating will not be tolerated.  This includes copying the work of your classmates, using notes during quizzes and exams, falsifying data, and plagiarizing others’ work.  At a minimum, cheating will result in a zero grade for that work.  Become familiar with CSUS cheating policies that can be found at:


Special Needs:  If you have any special needs regarding the class, or if a legitimate situation comes up during the semester that might interfere with the class, please let me know as soon as possible, and I will do my best to accommodate the situation.