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GPC/SEC Analysis of Polymer Degradation

Understanding the effects of processing a polymer on its molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, and solution viscosity are important to manufacturers. Knowing whether a recycled or reground polymer will still fall within specifications can save time and money. Knowing what the polymer characteristics are at end use can help avoid failures and improve specifications.

This Application Note describes the Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC), or equivalently Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC), analysis of the degradation of poly(lactic acid) (PLA) in both of these described scenarios, but the general methods and analysis can be applied to any polymer system where degradation could be an issue.