March 01 2011 - Ref No: PR2085

Researchers working at NanoQAM, the nanotechnology research centre of the University of Quebec (Montreal, Canada), are successfully innovating novel polymer coatings on the basis of data measured using a Viscotek high temperature gel permeation chromatography (HT-GPC) system from Malvern Instruments. The system is proving crucial for efficient polymer characterization, reliably providing absolute molecular weight and structural information to support research goals. A dependable high temperature solution is a pre-requisite for the polymers under test, as it is for bulk polyolefins.

“We rely heavily on the Malvern HT-GPC system because of the comprehensive, accurate information it provides,” remarks Dr Jerome Claverie, director of NanoQAM, and professor at the University of Quebec. ”GPC analysis of our polymers is challenging but the system performs consistently and reliably. Ongoing costs are low because the system is easy to maintain and consumables are affordable, which drives down the ‘cost per injection’, an important comparative indicator for us. And the software is excellent. It gives us the flexibility we need to fully explore our materials and at the same time allows new users to get useful data with minimal training.”

A key focus of Dr Claverie’s research is the development of polyolefin-based copolymers that are more hydrophilic. The aim is to produce coatings for nanoparticles that combine the mechanical properties of polyethylene with other capabilities, easily taking a dye for example. Studying the molecular weight and branching behaviour of these copolymers uncovers the structure-property relationships necessary to efficiently tailor polymerisation reactions for their production.

Malvern has developed the Viscotek HT-GPC system specifically for polyolefin analysis. These polymers are only sparingly soluble, necessitating the use of high temperatures throughout the analytical cycle. The Viscotek HT-GPC provides a reliable, cost-effective solution for operation at temperatures up to 160oC. The full triple detector configuration delivers absolute molecular weight without extrapolation or correction, molecular size (Rg and Rh), intrinsic viscosity and branching information in a single GPC/SEC experiment.

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