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Abstract

New methods for calibrating SEC columns by means of polydisperse polymer samples with known Mn and Mw have been tested with computer-generated chromatograms and with experimental data of high-performance SEC. Calculations with the artificial chromatograms show that accurate calibration dependences can be recovered even when polymers with broad and/or bimodal molecular weight distributions are used as standards. Polystyrene calibration calculated by the proposed method from chromatograms of five polydisperse polystyrenes follows closely the curve obtained in a conventional manner from nine narrow polystyrene standards. The dependence log M vs. ν for PMMA determined from chromatograms of six PMMA samples with moderately broad molecular weight distributions agrees well with the curve obtained by shifting the dependence for polystyrene using the universal calibration concept. The new method is particularly useful when SEC columns are to be calibrated for dextrans in water, where only a few standards having a rather broad molecular weight distribution are available, and can considerably improve the accuracy of molecular weight determination by SEC.