Importance of sample intraparticle diffusivity in investigations of the mass transfer mechanism in liquid chromatography



The effective diffusivity of a nonretained (thiourea) and of a strongly retained (phenol) compounds were measured with the peak parking method in two different columns (both 150 × 4.6 mm) packed with two types of porous particles having different mesopore sizes [5 μm Jupiter-C18, 320 Å and Luna(2)-C18, 100 Å]. The eluent was a methanol–water mixture (10/90 v/v) and the temperature 294 K. The effective diffusivity data acquired were used to determine the intraparticle diffusivity, Dp, based on two different diffusion models. The first one assumes that the diffusion fluxes across the particles and in the interparticle volume are additive (parallel diffusion model). The second model was rigorously derived on the basis of the effective medium theory of diffusion (diffusion model) in a binary composite medium (particles + interparticle volume). In both models, it was assumed that the rate of equilibrium between the liquid and the solid phases was infinitely faster than the rate of axial diffusion along the column at zero flow rate. Both models provide physically meaningful intraparticle diffusivity coefficients that take into account the average mesopore size of the particles, their specific surface area, and the retention factor of the analyte. Although the actual effective intraparticle diffusivity remains unknown, these result confirm that the mass transfer resistance due to diffusion through the porous particles has almost negligible effects in reversed phase liquid chromatography due to the importance of surface diffusion. Combining the results of the peak parking method with the h data measured at high linear velocities allows the unambiguous measurement of the film mass transfer and the surface diffusion coefficients. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011