Computational exploration of

Thermal Field Flow Fractionation

as a technique for separating polymers and large biological molecules

Nick Cox

Achieving the separation and purification of large or delicate molecules, such as polymers or DNA, can be difficult using conventional techniques, which may require introducing such compounds to extreme temperatures or pressures. Ergo, developing techniques to achieve high purity final products under mild conditions has obvious practical purposes. Micro thermal field-flow fractionation (TFFF) is a technique utilizing the interactive effects of temperature and concentration gradients on molecular diffusion, whereby large molecules can be separated with high purity by applying a very small temperature gradient (on a range of the order of 1 to 10 K cm-1) to a fluid flowing through a very thin channel. These types of phenomena are extremely difficult to predict analytically – as such, in this paper we present an investigation into the potential use of computational techniques to model TFFF devices.




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