High-Speed, High-Resolution Analysis of Low Molecular Weight Polymers
Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) is a well-established, informative method for characterizing polymers. However, while a great amount of information can be obtained using this technique, there are inherent limitations to this type of analysis.
Columns are frequently styrene-divinylbenzene based and require proper conditioning as well as operation under low back pressures to ensure long-term stability. Particles are typically larger (≥5 μm) and resolution is often compromised as a result. Smaller particle (<5 μm) columns are commercially available and improve the speed of GPC separations, but the speed is limited by their inherently low maximum operating pressures. In addition, the large system volumes of conventional GPC instrumentation require the use of large diameter columns to mitigate the system band spreading, which can lead to a deterioration in resolution.
Waters’ ACQUITY Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) System combines sub 3-μm hybrid particle columns, enhanced system stability, and the capability of accurate flow rates at higher pressures. Additionally, the low overall system dispersion can significantly affect resolution, especially for low molecular weight oligomers. Improved resolution in low molecular weight oligomer separations with shortened run times enables rapid monitoring of polymer process development, earlier detection of new polymeric species, and altogether faster commercialization of new polymer products.
To learn more, download the application note that compares the resolution and run times of conventional GPC versus the ACQUITY APC System for the analysis of low molecular weight polymers (LMWP).