Make your own microcrystalline cellulose TLC-plates


Abstract and summary

Microcrystalline cellulose was prepared in fair yields from 100% cotton soaked in a mixture of alkane sulphonate (dishwasher detergent) and dilute hydrochloric acid at 100 C. The alkanesulphonate improves the wettability of the cotton and prevents the inclusion of air bubbles thereby facilitating the breakdown of the amorphous regions of the cellulose especially in early stages of  the reaction. The reaction can be conducted on a household stove using kitchen utensils and heating using a hot water bath. Reaction times will depend on the hydrochloric acid concentration and may vary between 1 and 6 hours of heating. TLC - plates of microcrystalline cellulose can be stored over prolonged periods of time and have excellent mechanical properties. The density and evenness of the sorbent layer is easily controlled with translucent light.



Picture above:
Cellulose TLC plates out of the box.