Traditionally, size exclusion or gel permeation chromatography (SEC/GPC) is used for the characterization of polymeric material, specifically their molecular weight distribution. In order to resolve polymeric species, long column lengths and banked column configurations are commonly used, resulting in lengthy analytical test cycle times as well as the associated consumption of costly and often hazardous solvents. Additionally, many test sets suffer from minimal replicate data points due to the typical analysis time resulting data with limited statistical weighting.
In this paper the benefits of a comprehensive systematic approach for polymer molecular weight characterization will be presented. Waters® ACQUITY® Advanced Polymer Chromatography® (APC™) System, with its innovative and robust ACQUITY APC™ column technology, allows for improved resolution of polymer distributions with significantly shorter chromatographic total analysis cycle times. Additionally, we will describe some of the tools that are available to develop stable and impactful test methods that result in richer data sets based on more stable operating conditions, and replicate analyses that are easily obtained within minutes and not hours.