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Waters and Malvern Panalytical Collaborate to Improve Polymer Characterization

1 May 2018 No Comment

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Malvern Panalytical recently announced a co-marketing agreement with Waters Corporation for the use of our advanced GPC/SEC (Gel Permeation Chromatography / Size Exclusion Chromatography) detectors with their UPLC system, the APC.  Our advanced detector module OMNISEC REVEAL includes a refractive index (RI), a UV/Vis photodiode array, light scattering for measuring molecular weight, and a viscometer for measuring molecular structure.  The Waters ACQUITY APC uses columns with advanced, small particles to generate high-resolution separations in short run times.

In the past these systems haven’t been able to work together because the resolution is lost as the peaks move between detectors, however, with some recent improvements in inter-detector volumes in OMNISEC REVEAL, we are now able to connect these systems and get the best of both worlds; the high resolution and fast run times of the APC, with the multi-detector measurements and high level of characterization that comes from OMNISEC.

A few weeks ago, GPC Technical Specialists Kyle Williams, Carrie Schindler and I had the chance to visit our new friends from Waters in their local applications lab in Houston, Tx.  Our host was Larry Meeker. We were running our UPLC-capable OMNISEC REVEAL with the ACQUITY APC to run some proof of principle measurements and to test some commercial polymer samples to generate applications data for marketing material and future literature pieces. We ran a wide selection of samples, including standards like polystyrene and PMMA and more interesting polymers such as polyalphaolefins (PAO) and epoxies.

To give you a brief preview of the data, compare these two chromatograms.  The first shows a 6 cP PAO using the OMNISEC GPC system.  The single peak had a measured molecular weight of just 800 Da!

However, the second shows the same sample separated using the additional resolution afforded by connecting OMNISEC REVEAL to the APC.  In this case, the PAO sample is now partially resolved into its three component parts of 420 Da, 770 Da, and 1160 Da, in proportions of 33, 51, and 16% respectively.  This extra resolution helps to further understand and characterize any underlying changes that might cause differences in performance.  As an additional benefit, these measurements were performed in just over one-third of the measurement runtime (from 45 to 16 minutes), saving instrument time and the solvent associated with the measurement.

It’s easy to imagine how this could be applied to polymer samples and the value that would come from these improvements.  If you are a manufacturer and looking to characterize your polymer product, the better the resolution and the more parameters you can measure, then the greater the control you can exert over your polymer product.  With this kind of knowledge, you can improve product quality and value by reducing variation and failure rates.  With the reduced running time, you can also save money on running costs, or run more efficiently in the lab.

 

As we spend more time working together and combining OMNISEC REVEAL and the Waters ACQUITY APC, I’ve no doubt we’ll uncover more and more of these stories, all further demonstrating the value of combining these technologies.

Soon I’ll host a webinar titled “Get the best of both worlds: Coupling advanced multi-detection with UPLC for faster and more detailed polymer analysis“. I will describe advanced detection and UPLC and discuss how these two technologies have been brought together. Application examples will be provided showing how this data really can be generated in just a few minutes.