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Video File: Polymer chromatography speeds up analysis time for new engineering polymers

Waters : 22 April, 2013  (New Product)
At Pittcon 2013, Waters in collaboration with Dow Chemical Company, launched the Acquity Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC) system. It provides analysis times that are up to five to 20 times faster and in the characterisation of low to mid-range molecular weight polymers.

In recent years, there has been resurgence in polymer development due to major advancements in polymer reactions and a new understanding of the chemical structures of the building blocks of polymers. The industry has also been focusing more on the development of new, sustainable products. Many of these new polymers have a lower molecular weight and are biosourced.

“Industry is on a constant quest to identify and understand the properties of new materials while making the process of innovation faster, simpler and more sustainable,” says Dow Chemical’s Jim Alexander, associate research & development director of Core R&D Analytical Sciences. “This new capability will help solve critical R&D challenges, helping scientists to drive to solutions more quickly, with improved data quality.”

The Acquity APC System is breakthrough
technology for polymer analysis that defines
the ultimate in size-based chromatographic
separations of polymers, delivering more
information about polymers -- faster than ever before.




The Acquity APC system is comprises a refractive index detector that has been optimised for low dispersion but with the low noise and drift performance required for accurate integration, even at low polymer concentrations. Flow stability is the most important contributor to accurate molecular weight. Calibration of a bank of columns is based on the elution time of the polymers. The long-term flow stability of the APC ensures calibration provides the right molecular weight data for the polymer.

It can be used with the company’s Empower 3 software, which allows users to store and retrieve chromatography data using an embedded, relational database. Empower’s switch-one functionality allows users to add advance polymer analysis to existing Empower installations as well as other separation and detection techniques.

The APC system also features new column technology based on rigid, sub three micron, high pore volume bridged-ethyl hybrid particles that provide significant gains in stability and faster separations. The column chemistries are not polymeric gel-based materials, and so are not susceptible to swelling in the different solvents required for diverse polymer analysis needs. This means that scientists can run diverse polymer applications on a single system regardless of the solvent or column required.

Ian King, Waters vice president of Separations Technologies, claims that APC represents a major change from soft gel columns. “With APC, scientists can run diverse polymer applications on a single system, on one bank of columns with a variety of solvents,” he said. “Now our customers can significantly improve laboratory efficiency and asset utilisation.”

Features and benefits

  • Improved column technology - Acquity APC Columns utilise small, high pore volume bridged-ethyl hybrid particles that provide significant gains in stability, flexibility and faster separations.
  • Stable refractive index detection - The Acquity Refractive Index (RI) Detector is optimised for low dispersion, but with the low noise and drift performance required for accurate integration, even at low polymer concentrations.
  • Precise solvent management - Precise flow delivery of the isocratic solvent manager ensures calibrated system provides accurate molecular weight data, day after day.
  • Advanced column heating module - Ensures highly repeatable thermal environment for banks of Acquity APC Columns.
  • Empower 3 Software with GPC option - Quickly review, compare, and report polymer analysis data.
  • Polymer Characterisation - Provides unparalleled polymer peak resolution, particularly for low molecular weight oligomers.
  • Speed of Analysis - Obtain accurate and repeatable polymer molecular weight information up to 5 to 20 times faster than traditional GPC/SEC methods.
  • Cost Reduction - Lower analysis cost by reducing solvent consumption and waste disposal volumes.
  • System Flexibility - Run diverse polymer applications on a single system.
  • Faster analysis time and better resolution of polystyrene standards (100K, 10K, 1K) using the ACQUITY APC System, compared to conventional GPC.
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