Separation Science

Trends and Applications in GPC Polymer Analysis

Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) is a valuable and well established tool for the chemical industry when it comes to the determination of the molecular weight and the molecular weight distribution of polymers.

Tosoh_GPC.pngDuring synthesis of a polymer, repeating chemical units with specific molar mass (monomers) are covalently bonded to form a large complex molecule. However, the number of repeating units differs from chain to chain and thereby molar mass of the chains varies. These changes lead to a distribution of molar masses which are considered as the unique characteristic of a polymer.

Average values from the molar mass distribution can be determined; however they do not reveal the exact properties of the polymer. In every application using polymers, a set of desired properties of the final material is a must, but may vary from product to product. Molar mass is the key characteristic of a polymer that has a great contribution to the formulation of the end use properties of semi-finished or finished products.

Molar masses of a polymer are primarily controlled or determined during synthesis and can be altered when exposed to different processing/environmental conditions. GPC is a straight forward analytical technique that is widely being used during synthesis, development, production and quality control of polymers.

The reproducibility of the measurements from day to day, system to system and location to location is important to ensure high quality results. In addition, high throughput and short analysis time help to save time and money. There are many factors such as constant temperature in the GPC system, accurate flow rates, sensitivity of the detectors etc. contributing to these features.

ECOSec_GPC.pngPowered with 40 years of GPC experience, the compact EcoSEC GPC systems of Tosoh deliver outstanding throughput, reproducibility and robustness. Modern TSKgel GPC columns can provide linear calibration through multi-pore technology and/or save considerable amounts of solvent when used in semi-micro dimensions. Numerous applications covering a broad range of polymer types prove the potential of using the EcoSEC systems in combination with TSKgel GPC column technology. They range from ambient to high temperature analysis and also use the latest column technology.

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