Non-Polar Electric Field Flow Fractionation

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Student Presentation

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Faculty Sponsor

Dale Russell


Electric Field Flow Fractionation (EFFF) is a method of separating particle by applying an electric field across a flow of solvent with some sort of sample. As the samples pass through the field larger particles will be separated from smaller particles due to the force of the field. Non polar EFFF is where the solvent used is non polar. Polar solvents will be affected by the field and cause a dual layer of positive and negative charges in the solution which will significantly reduce the strength of the electric field on the sample being separated. With non polar solvents this is not a problem. The key sample that are being examined in this instance are proteins. Current protein separation techniques apply a very large electric field and cause large amounts of heat and other problems denaturing proteins and endangering the user. With EFFF the chasm between plates is very small so the voltage used to produce a field may be much smaller causing less heat. At current polished metal plates are being purchased or polished to be used to create the electric field. The plates will be overlaid with a thin gasket between. This gasket will have a small chasm for solvent to flow through. The plates will need to be fitted so that solvent can flow into the channel freely. The EFFF will need to be set up so that the gasket is as small as possible without leaking and the inflow and outflow provide no resistance and allow for easy flow into the channel without leaking as well. Both of these will need to be fitted and maximized before proteins can be separated.

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