High performance size-exclusion chromatography of anionic polymers in aqueous solutions

Authors

  • Tony Malfait,

    1. Interdisciplinair Research Center, University of Leuven, Campus Kortrijk, 8500 Kortrijk, Belgium
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  • Dirk Slootmaekers,

    1. Laboratorium voor Organische Structuurchemie, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200 F, 3030 Heverlee, Belgium
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  • Frans Van Cauwelaert

    Corresponding author
    1. Interdisciplinair Research Center, University of Leuven, Campus Kortrijk, 8500 Kortrijk, Belgium
    • Interdisciplinair Research Center, University of Leuven, Campus Kortrijk, 8500 Kortrijk, Belgium
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Abstract

The applicability of high performance size-exclusion chromatography was tested for anionic polymers with a new type of column. It was found that a solvent salt concentration of 0.1M and an elevated temperature (60°C) prevented adsorption of the polystyrene sulfonate standards on the column packing. The calibration curve and the effect of the concentration on the retention volume remained, however, colum-dependent. We concluded also that the use of the column was restricted to the linear range of the calibration curve and to concentrations below 1 mg mL−1 for the highest molecular weight standards. The influence of the flow rate (below 1 mL min−1) on the retention volume was negligible. The main cause of errors when the universal calibration technique is used originated in the experimental determination of the intrinsic viscosities of the standards. The combination of the errors on the viscosity and on the experimentally determined retention volume easily introduced an error of 15% on the determined molecular weight of the sulfated polysaccharide k-carrageenan. The use of the universal calibration method for an exact molecular weight determination of anionic natural polymers is therefore still questionable.

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