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Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC)

Gel permeation or size exclusion chromatography separates molecules based on their size in solution. It is a key technique in the analysis of polymers, where it is used to determine molecular weight distributions. A variety of solvents, detectors and temperatures can be used to enable most polymeric materials to be analysed.

cogsHow does it work?

A GPC column is filled with porous beads through which molecules can diffuse. Large molecules only fit into the larger pores, and so travel through the column relatively quickly. Smaller molecules travel more slowly as they move through a greater number of pores, resulting in a separation based on molecular size. After this separation, species are monitored by differences in refractive index, viscosity, or by light scattering or fluorescence detectors.

In conventional GPC, standards of known molecular weight are used for calibration, and molecular weight averages and polydispersity of unknown samples can be measured relative to these. Multi-detector techniques can be used for more accurate molecular weight determination.


Molecular weight distributions; molecular size; shape and conformation; high temperature GPC; aqueous GPC

Sample handling requirements

Solid or solution

Complementary techniques

NMR, Mass Spectrometry

Warwick Capability

Agilent 390-MDS systems with a variety of solvents and detectors; Agilent PL-GPC 220 high temperature system and hot filtration unit


Claire Gerard: c dot gerard at warwick dot ac dot uk / 07385 145064

Enquire here

gpc RTP

Typical results:


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