Skylab Separation Test Kit Basics


Have a sample that contains three different substances? No problem. Now it’s possible to separate them and identify each one independently and accurately.

Skylab separation kits are designed to separate mixed samples BEFORE identifying them with spot kits. A huge advantage of this process is that you can even tell how much of each substance is present – otherwise only possible using full laboratory analysis.

This only takes about 20 minutes and is incredibly sensitive – allowing you to detect and quantify even tiny amounts of dangerous cutting agents.

The basics:

  1. Place your substance on the edge of a “card” made of aluminum and silica.
  2. Place this card in a small amount of our special developing liquid.
  3. The developing liquid will slowly travel up the card, carrying your sample with it. This process separates the different components (cutting agents, etc.) that are present.
  4. Remove the card and allow it to dry for a few minutes.
  5. Use the included black light to see where each component is on the card.
  6. Use spot test kits to individually identify these substances on the card.



How do I interpret my results?

When you use the spotting light to locate and circle the spots/streaks on the testing card, you’re identifying the location of your separated samples – they will be above the “X MARKS” on the testing card.

There may be one spot – this may indicate a pure substance or a substance with only one active component. You would then use your reagent of choice (Marquis, Ehrlich, etc.) to test and identify that substance.

There may be multiple spots above the same “X MARK” – this most likely indicates that your substance is impure. The reason can be because of deliberate adulteration (cutting) or mistakes in the synthesis/extraction of your substance, leading to the impurity. You can test these multiple spots in an attempt to determine the type of impurity.

There are a small number of substances that will show two spots in pure form, an example being 4-AcO-DMT and other 4-AcO substances. These separate into two spots, one spot being the substance itself, with another spot further up on the testing card. In the case of the substances mentioned above, the second spot is fumaric acid that is used to crystallize the substance, which is harmless.

If you find that you have a pure substance, it’s best to confirm this conclusion by following up with one or more additional spot tests using different reagents (Marquis, Ehrlich, etc.).

Why are my spots abnormally large?

This happens if you use too much of your sample when dissolving it or placing it on the testing card. In this case, you should re-start the separation test kit process from the beginning. Another option, if necessary, is to dilute your sample by adding more of the testing liquid to your original sample in the small vial and restarting the process from step two.

Why don’t I have any (or very small) spots?

The spots should be between 2mm (1/16th of an inch) and 5mm (3/16th of an inch) in diameter for best results. The appearance of no spots or small spots happens if you used too little of your sample when dissolving it in step one. You’ll need to re-start the separation test kit process with a larger sample. If you don’t have any more of your sample, then it is possible to open the small vial containing your original sample and allow the testing liquid to evaporate until there is only a little bit left, and then use that to run the test again. If you still don’t see any spots, this means your sample most likely does not contain any active substances.

Why do I only see streaks and not spots?

This may happen for three possible reasons:

  • Your testing liquid is old or was left open and needs to be replaced.
  • Your sample is too concentrated.
  • Your sample is very impure: This may happen when testing plant material that contains chlorophyll, or naturally extracted samples that haven’t been purified enough. It may also occur because of a poor synthesis.

I can’t interpret the results even though I’ve read everything.

Sometimes impurities, novel substances, or problems with the dilution of samples may make it hard to understand the results. In this case please take a picture of your results and post it on for more help.

When putting the testing card in the developing chamber the testing liquid is rising unevenly – is this a problem?

It is important that the testing card is placed vertically in the developing chamber, leaning slightly back and away from the label. It is not a problem if it is rising somewhat unevenly, and it should even out over a couple of minutes. If the testing liquid is rising very unevenly, however, this can effect the results and make the substance spots from one “X MARK” appear above another “X MARK.” In the worst case scenario, it may even end up on the side of the testing card. In this case please repeat the test and remember that the developing chamber must be on a level surface.