A method for determining the plate height HETP from the elution curve obtained by the linear gradient elution (LGE) ion-exchange chromatography (IEC) of proteins is presented. The method was developed on the basis of the numerical solutions of a chromatography model which considers the zone sharpening and the distribution coefficient as a function of the salt concentration. The plate height HETP is determined from the peak width and the salt concentration at which the peak is eluted in LGE. The method was applied to the experimental results with various ion-exchange chromatography media. A calculation example based onthe present method is presented to show how the chromatographic and operating parameters should be tuned to obtain a desired resolution. A simplified calculation procedure for the peak profile is also described. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.