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How to monitor a reaction in presence of similar Rfs for both starting materials and product of interest?

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Possible Solutions:

  • Try the co-spotting method.
  • Try to visualize the plate using anisaldehyde or molybdene. Spot color or brightness differ for two compounds when using these stains.
  • If none of the two previous solutions work, change solvent systems (use another class of solvent).


Tips: in chromatography, there are three classes of solvent systems providing significantly different results:

  • 1: Mixture of polar / hydrocarbon solvents (i.e.: EtOAc / Hexane; Ether / Petroleum ether).
  • 2: Mixture of polar / dichloromethane solvents (examples of polar solvent: Ether, EtOAc, MeOH).
  • 3: Mixture of polar / benzene (or toluene) solvents (examples of polar solvent: Ether, EtOAc, MeOH).

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