Various polymer standards can be used to calibrate GPC systems to provide an analyte’s molecular weight profile. In conventional GPC analysis, a series of 8 – 15 narrow-dispersity (Đ) polymer standards of one type are injected to produce a calibration curve. The elution time of an unknown polymer will be compared to the standard curve, and a Mw is calculated. Examples include polystyrene (PS), polyethylene glycol (PEG), poly methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and dextran.
In triple detection, one narrow polymer standard is injected to calibrate the light-scattering detector itself, followed by a broad polymer standard to confirm the accuracy of the detector. For example, in THF, a narrow PS 99 kDa is first injected for calibration, followed by a broad-dispersity 135 kDa PS standard as an accuracy check.
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It is important to ensure polymer standards are > 99% pure, and possess the Mp, Mw, and Đ values claimed in the certificate of analysis. All narrow polymer standards should have a Đ nearing 1.00, such as 1.02 or 1.05.