Simplified and fully automated GPC instrument aimed at quality control laboratories in polyolefin production plants
GPC-QC is a compact, high-temperature Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) instrument for Quality Control (QC) in polyolefin manufacturing lines. The instrument has a simple and reliable approach based on Polymer Char’s recently developed QC platform, to provide robust and precise Molar Mass Distribution for process control.
For quality control purposes, the industry has traditionally relied on physical parameters related to an average of the Molar Mass Distribution (MMD), such as Melt Flow Index (MFI) and density. These parameters are not enough when producing complex multiple reaction products, some of them having multimodal MMD. It is on these occasions when GPC-QC can provide significant value by measuring the whole MMD.
GPC-QC delivers the complete Molar Mass Distribution for one sample through a simplified workflow, while keeping a fully automated sample preparation and an analysis free of manual solvent handling throughout the entire process. Depending on the sample and conditions, the complete analysis can take as little as 30-40 minutes including dissolution.
The Infrared (IR) detection, implemented in the instrument through Polymer Char’s integrated IR4 or IR5 detectors, is highly stable, contributing to the overall reliability of the instrument. The IR detector also provides simultaneous chemical composition information, which is key for controlling the production of heterogeneous resins.
Moreover, for a truly complete analysis, the instrument can also measure intrinsic viscosity by means of a built-in dual-capillary viscometer that can be incorporated as an additional feature.
Important applications for GPC-QC are:
The GPC-QC complies with the ISO 16014-4 and ASTM D6474 methods for High-Temperature GPC measurement.
· Full automation of the entire analytical process.
· One sample analyzed in 30 minutes including dissolution.
· IR4 or IR5 MCT detectors for Concentration and Short Chain Branching information (IR detectors comparison)
· Optional incorporation of a dual-capillary viscometer.
· Simple and reliable design for Quality Control environments.
· Comprehensive results (MMD, SCB, IVD).
· Outstanding precision thanks to the full automation and the detectors’ robustness.
The following are the detectors available for GPC-QC:
The IR4 is the standard Detector integrated by default in all the Polymer Char analytical instruments. IR4 is a dual-wavelength infrared detector, which uses the principle of infrared absorption spectroscopy to measure the concentration and composition in polyolefins.
The IR5 MCT is a high sensitivity infrared detector designed for measuring concentration and short-chain branching with superb stability. It incorporates interference filters at five different wavelengths and a thermoelectrically cooled MCT detector with high sensitivity (no liquid Nitrogen required).
Polymer Char offers a highly sensitive Four-Capillary Differential Bridge Viscometer or a Two-Capillary Relative Viscometer. Both options are an ideal complement to the infrared detection systems implemented in many of the polyolefin characterization instruments, such as GPC-IR or CEF. Viscometer configuration is optimized to achieve a better performance in each technique.
The GPC-QC software controls the whole process from the vial filling and dissolution, therefore the end-user tasks consist of weighing the sample in the vial and put it in the instrument. From that point on, all the needed steps are performed by the instrument with no manual intervention.
The GPC-QC Software has been built as a Virtual Instrument, with the possibility of operating all the instrument hardware parts from the computer, and receiving feedback from all the actions and detectors signals.
For data processing, the GPC One Software packages, developed in collaboration with the world leaders in this field, provide the most powerful data processing platform available in the market.
The purpose of a GPC (or SEC) instrument is the analysis of the Molar Mass Distribution, which has been always considered a demanding task due to the requirement of high-temperature operation for dissolution of polyolefins and multi-detection methods. GPC-QC is a compact, high-temperature GPC instrument for quality control in polyolefin manufacturing lines. The instrument has a simple and reliable approach based on Polymer Char’s recently developed QC platform, to provide robust and precise Molar Mass Distribution for process control. The IR detector also provides simultaneous chemical composition information, which is key for controlling the production of heterogeneous resins.
One sample is performed in each run and complete process, including dissolution is carried out in about 40minutes (1column and one injection). Total time will depend on the number of columns, number of injections per vial, dissolution time and flow rate.
60mg are used as a standard for preparing a 1mg/mL solution in the bottles.
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene (TCB) and Orto-Dichlorobenzene (oDCB) are the most used solvents. To use other solvents please consult Polymer Char first.
No sample preparation is required by the user but putting the dry sample inside the bottle. The rest of the steps are performed by the instrument automatically: filling, dissolution, injection of the sample, final cleaning, … Therefore, when a run is finished, another one can be started inmediately.
Solvents don’t need to be handled at any time; the whole process is fully automated and the instrument performs all the needed steps: bottles filling, dissolution, injection, etc.; under software control.
GPC-QC is specially designed for the difficult task of Polyolefin analysis at high temperature with chlorinated solvents. The instrument with the standard IR detector can be used to analyze all polymers soluble in chlorinated solvents (TCB, o-DCB) which have C-H bonds in the backbone.
Among the most common samples analyzed are bimodal high-density polyethylene made in a dual-reactor process and ultra-high molar mass resins.
GPC-QC incorporates an infrared (IR) detector to collect concentration chromatogram after GPC column separation.
The IR detector can be Polymer Char’s IR4/IR5/IR6 models, which simultaneously provide chemical composition information.
The use of the higher performance IR5/IR6 detectors is Polymer Char's recommendation for this instrument for a QC environment thanks to the fast stabilization time, stable baseline, and good sensitivity. In addition, IR detection provides complementary and accurate information on chemical composition (short-chain branching, comonomer content) along the MMD.
For a truly complete analysis, the instrument can also measure intrinsic viscosity by means of a built-in dual capillary viscometer that can be incorporated as an additional feature.
The GPC-QC instrument incorporates a GPC column, which is located in the instrument top oven together with valve and other parts.
After each injection, data can already be accessed and processed through the GPC-QC Software database. Polymer Char’s GPC One is currently the most comprehensive GPC Calculations Software package, developed in collaboration with the leaders in the industry, as it integrates all detectors signals and has the possibility of being customized to include in-house data-processing procedures. A reporting tool has also been developed, generating reports in Excel adapted to each user needs.
The vials are of 100mL, and they're filled with 60mL, from which up to five injections can be done. The standard for the volume of the loop injection is 200 uL but it can be adjusted according to the user's needs.
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