This is an interesting question that does not have a straightforward answer. In fact, there are many materials that are potentially useful sorbents for dry loading crude mixtures. Some of the more popular are silica, diatomaceous earth (e.g. ISOLUTE® HM-N, Celite®), alumina, and Florisil®. The sorbent choice can influence your purification results because each of the available media have different chemistry and capacity. In most cases, sample/sorbent reactivity really is not a major concern, though it can occur. What is important is the sorbent’s capacity to adsorb/absorb all of your sample and the ratio of your crude sample to the amount of dry load sorbent.
Does your crude sample/sorbent dry load ratio impact flash column chromatography results?
Dry loading crude samples for flash purification typically works better than liquid loading, especially for challenging purifications. In this post, I discuss how the ratio of crude sample to dry load sorbent impacts purification performance.