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Partition Theory

Partition Theory

Distribution of a solute, S, between two immiscible solvents (such as aqueous and organic phases) is an equilibrium condition that is described by the following equation:

Saq <--> Sorg

The equilibrium constant for this equilibrium condition is:

K = [Sorg] / [Saq]

where [Sorg] and [Saq] are the solute concentrations in the organic and aqueous phases, respectively, and the equilibrium constant, K, is called the partition or distribution coefficient.


Partitioning of a solute between two phases is the basis for extractions and chromatographic separations.

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