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Gel permeation chromatography system GPC

The gel permeation chromatography system (GPC) is a variation of HPLC using specialised columns that separate on the basis of size-exclusion. GPC is specifically used on the measurement of the molecular weight of polymeric samples and is a polymer characterization tool.

The molecular weight of a polymer can greatly change the properties that it will have from a low molecular weight sample that is quite flexible and has high gas permeabilities to a high molecular weight sample that is more rigid and has reduced gas permeation.

ANFF has a Waters system with a R.I. detector and a Shimadzu MALS detector, which allows not only the measurement of molecular weights compared to reference standards but the measurement of absolute molecular weights.

Examples of use

  • Kinetic determination of rates in polymerization systems with transfer agents such as dithioesters. Theoretical models of polymerization have these rates being dependent on both the molecular weight and transfer agent concentrations. RAFT is a currently-used method to obtain polymers with a specific and narrow molecular weight distribution.
  • Degradation of polymers by UV can be monitored over time for changes that will relate to product failure.
Fabrication step: Characterisation
Function: Bulk microscopy
Location: University of Queensland
Purpose: Gel permeation chromatography that separates on size exclusion and the measurement of molecular weight of polymeric samples.
Material systems: Polymers
Node: Queensland
Scale/volume: 1mL/4mL sample vials, 200µL or 2000µL injection syringe and a 2.5mL sample loop
Specifications/resolution: Measures molecular weight using either RI detection only (range 1,000 to 1,000,000 daltons) or MALS (500 to 2,000,000 daltons), a isocratic pump 0.1 10.0mL/min, a 4 port column heater 20 to 150 degress Celsius and a auto injector capable of holding either 48 4mL vials or 96 1mL vials