Wyatt Technology

Truths and myths about the determination of molar mass distribution of synthetic and natural polymers by size exclusion chromatography

This article discusses various aspects of the determination of molar mass distribution by means of size exclusion chromatography (SEC) in various application modes. The effects of erroneous specific refractive index increment (dn/dc), branching, column performance, and enthalpic interactions on the results obtained by different SEC techniques are discussed. Combination of SEC and a light scattering detector represents the most direct way to the molar mass distribution of all natural and synthetic polymers as it completely eliminates the need for column calibration and to a certain extent eliminates the dependence of the obtained results on some operational variables such as flow rate, temperature, or injected mass. A multi-angle light scattering (MALS) photometer has become the most frequently used light scattering detector capable of determination of molecular size as another important polymer characteristic. This article contrasts SEC-MALS method with other application modes of SEC from the viewpoint of some frequent confusions and misunderstandings.

Podzimek, S. Journal of Applied Polymer Science  2014, 131, 40111. doi:10.1002/app.40111



For essential macromolecular and nanoparticle characterization—The Solution is Light™

13 Key Questions to Ask


Get the inside scoop on buying a Multi-Angle Light Scattering (MALS) or Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) instrument!

Request the Ultimate Guide today.
Get Ultimate Guide


Need more information?

Request Product Info


Wyatt Technology is the recognized leader in light scattering instrumentation and software for determining the absolute molar mass, size, charge and interactions of macromolecules and nanoparticles in solution.

Wyatt's line of multi-angle static light scattering products couple to size exclusion chromatography (SEC-MALS), field-flow fractionation (FFF-MALS), and stop-flow composition-gradient systems (CG-MALS). Our dynamic light scattering (DLS) products operate in traditional cuvette as well as on-line and automated, high-throughput modes. We also offer unique instruments for electrophoretic light scattering (MP-PALS), differential refractometry, and differential viscosity.

© Wyatt Technology Corporation. All rights reserved.