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Advanced Liquid Chromatography of Polyolefins Using Simultaneous Solvent and Temperature Gradients

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2020, 16:04 by Anthony Ndiripo, Andreas Albrecht, Harald Pasch
Olefin copolymers are complex polymer materials that exhibit multiple distributions in molecular properties such as molar mass, chemical composition, and branching. To address the multivariate molecular compositions, chromatographic protocols have been developed that synergistically combine solvent and temperature gradients. As representative examples, blends of olefin copolymers have been fractionated on porous graphitic carbon stationary phases. This is the first study that makes complementary use of solvent and temperature gradient interaction chromatography (SGIC and TGIC, respectively) to capitalize on the advantages of both techniques. In a first experimental setup, solvent and temperature gradients were used simultaneously and complex blends of low molar mass polyethylene and ethylene-co-1-octene copolymers were separated with high efficiency. The separation of oligomers was observed to be significantly better in SGIC as compared to TGIC, while comonomer blends could be separated in either TGIC or SGIC mode. In another innovation, a two-column setup was employed where the columns were placed in different temperature zones. It was demonstrated that the separation of both low and high comonomer content blends was improved significantly when the temperatures of the two zones were manipulated reasonably.