The molecular characteristics of a macromolecule are important parameters to be determined as they all can affect the material’s physical properties and behavior in a final product as well as during processing. In order to measure and evaluate these parameters (molecular weight and molecular weight distribution, molecular size and structure) size exclusion chromatography (SEC), or gel permeation chromatography (GPC) as it is also known, is one of the most useful tools that can be used.
SEC is a liquid chromatography method that separates macromolecules according to their size (hydrodynamic volume) thus allowing further macromolecular characteristics to be derived from analysis of these separated fractions using various detectors. The number of parameters derivable from this technique strongly depends on the number and type of detector used or included in the SEC system. The Malvern Panalytical OMNISEC SEC system can have, as a multi-detection system, four different detectors: refractive index (RI) and ultraviolet (UV-Vis) detectors, also indicated as concentration detectors, light scattering (RALS/LALS – MALS) detectors, and viscometer detectors.
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