At the beginning of the gas chromatography packed columns was the solely available column type. Today fused silica columns are dominating in the GC’s of the laboratories. In comparison to packed columns modern capillary columns are longer and have a smaller inner diameter and therefore higher separation efficiency. With regard to efficiency capillary columns are nowadays the column type of choice.
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Nevertheless, there are plenty applications where separation efficiency is not the critical point. In these cases packed columns are still appreciated and show interesting qualities. The most obvious characteristic you will recognize at once: fused silica columns are flexible and easy to handle in the lab they don’t reach the chemical stability of a packed stainless steel column. At harsh conditions that you find for example at production sites or in mobile systems the stability of packed columns often is helpful and necessary. Furthermore packed columns have a significant higher sample capacity. To some extend the lower separation efficiency can be compensated by the very large assortment of stationary phases. They give the opportunity to choose the right selectivity of the phase. Especially in the field of gas analysis packed columns are still essential.
If stainless steel surfaces are not applicable specially coated columns are available. These INNOSteel columns have a high-purity silica surface and therefore characteristics similar to glass but combined with the mechanical stability and flexibility of stainless steel.
Altmann-Analytik offers a large assortment of packed columns. You can select from several column materials (stainless steel, INNOSteel), different dimensions (e. g. inner diameter from 1 to 5.3 mm) and a variety of packing materials. Beside separation phases based on polymers (see table 2) a lot of stationary phases can prepared regarding customer requirements. On customer’s option the packed column can be pre-conditioned in carrier gas stream so that it is prepared for direct use in the system.