OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 1

Physical-Chemical properties

2074-5753 (online)
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The OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals is a collection of about 150 of the most relevant internationally agreed testing methods used by government, industry and independent laboratories to identify and characterise potential hazards of chemicals. They are a set of tools for professionals, used primarily in regulatory safety testing and subsequent chemical and chemical product notification, chemical registration and in chemical evaluation. They can also be used for the selection and ranking of candidate chemicals during the development of new chemicals and products and in toxicology research. This group of tests covers physical-chemical properties.

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Test No. 119: Determination of the Low Molecular Weight Content of a Polymer Using Gel Permeation Chromatography

Test No. 119: Determination of the Low Molecular Weight Content of a Polymer Using Gel Permeation Chromatography You or your institution have access to this content

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14 June 1996
9789264069862 (PDF)

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This Test guideline describes the Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC). This method permits to determine the molecular weight distribution and the average molecular weights (Mn, Mw). GPC is a special type of liquid chromatography in which the sample is separated according to the hydrodynamic volumes of the individual constituents. Low molecular weight is arbitrarily defined as a molecular weight below 1000 dalton.

According to their size, the eluted molecules can or not penetrate in the porous material (typically an organic gel) of which the columns are filled. Thus, the smallest molecules are retained whereas largest elute more quickly. At exit of column, detectors (generally by differential refractometry) provide the refractive index or UV-absorption and yield a simple distribution curve. However, to attribute actual molecular weight values to the curve, it is necessary to calibrate the column by passing down polymers of known molecular weight and, ideally, of broadly similar structure, e.g. various polystyrene standards. For each sample analyzed, two independent experiments must be undertaken.

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