Rapid Chromatography and Flash Column

empty chromatography flash column

1. Rapid chromatography

Technology for the separation and purification of natural products and biological macromolecules. It has the advantages of easy operation, cheap price, rapid analysis, and a few other technologies that can match rapid chromatography in the application of purifying organic matter. Rapid chromatography is a typical low-pressure technique.

Rapid chromatography and flash column chromatography are both techniques used in chromatographic separations, but they differ in their goals, principles, and applications. Here’s a comparison of the two:

Goal: The primary goal of rapid chromatography is to achieve high-speed separations while maintaining acceptable resolution and efficiency. It is often used in analytical laboratories where fast results are essential.

Principle: Rapid chromatography focuses on optimizing various parameters to achieve faster separations, including column dimensions, particle size, flow rates, and mobile phase compositions.


  • Analytical laboratories requiring quick turnaround times for sample analysis.
  • Quality control in industries like pharmaceuticals, food, and environmental monitoring.


  • Faster results.
  • Suitable for routine analysis.
  • Increased laboratory productivity.


  • May sacrifice resolution for speed.
  • Not ideal for complex or challenging separations.

2. Flash column

With the progress of the Times, more and more laboratories have a higher degree of automation for separation and purification—rapid chromatography (low and medium pressure preparative chromatography), in the pharmaceutical outsourcing companies often referred to as the flash column machine. As the name suggests, this is a replacement for the hand-crafted silicone column, which we call the flash column. With the gradual popularity of the domestic machine, the use of higher grades. Empty chromatography columns are the hardware structures that can be customized and packed with a specific stationary phase for chromatographic separations, while chromatography columns are fully prepared columns containing the stationary phase and are used directly for sample analysis, purification, and other chromatographic processes. The chromatographic column is filled with silica gel adsorbent with a particle size of 40-60um, and the mobile phase with low viscosity needs to choose a smaller particle size.

Goal: Flash column chromatography is used for preparative separations, where the goal is to isolate and purify specific compounds from a mixture.

Principle: Flash column chromatography employs gravity-driven solvent flow to separate compounds based on their interactions with the stationary phase. It uses a larger column packed with a stationary phase material and is often manually operated.


  • Purification of compounds for further analysis or use.
  • Isolation of natural products, drug candidates, or reaction intermediates in research and synthesis.


  • Higher resolution and purification capability.
  • Suitable for complex mixtures.
  • Larger sample loading.


  • Longer separation times compared to rapid chromatography.
  • May require more extensive instrumentation and resources.

3. Comparison:

  • Speed: Rapid chromatography prioritizes speed and is used for quick analytical results, while flash column chromatography is a preparative technique that may take longer due to the need for better separation and purification.
  • Resolution: Flash column chromatography offers better resolution and purification due to its larger column size and slower flow rates, whereas rapid chromatography might sacrifice some resolution for quicker results.
  • Sample Size: Flash column chromatography can handle larger sample sizes, making it suitable for preparative purposes. Rapid chromatography is often used for smaller sample volumes.
  • Complexity: Flash column chromatography is suitable for complex mixtures that require efficient separation and purification. Rapid chromatography is ideal for routine analysis of simpler mixtures.
  • Instrumentation: Rapid chromatography can often be performed on analytical HPLC systems, whereas flash column chromatography requires larger columns, specialized packing materials, and fraction collection systems.

In summary, rapid chromatography prioritizes speed in analytical applications, while flash column chromatography is a preparative technique focused on isolating and purifying compounds. The choice between the two depends on the separation goals, the complexity of the mixture, and the desired level of purification.