Molecular Weight Determination of Polymers

Molecular weight (MW) determination for polymers by application of techniques such as gel permeation chromatography (GPC) & mass spectrometry (MALDI TOF-MS)

Polymer molecular weight determination will play an important role in the development of new polymer materials, ongoing processing / production over the polymer’s lifecycle and its performance in the finished product.  

A polymer's properties and performance are influenced by its molecular weight distribution. A high molecular weight, for example, can have an effect on both a polymer’s brittleness as well as tensile strength. A low molecular weight can have an influence on a polymer’s melt processing abilities. 

Our polymer testing laboratories regularly perform molecular weight (Mw) determination for polymer materials helping our clients to progress new polymer development and material selection, address degradation or materials failure issues and monitor quality across production.

Our experts apply a range of analytical techniques to study the integrity of the material and establish any deviations which may lead to problems such as breakage, crazing and long term degradation. Our laboratories work with organisations of all sizes from the largest OEMs to the smaller niche polymer material developers, we provide the number-average molecular weight (Mn), mass-average molecular weight (Mw), z-average molecular weight (Mz) and Polydispersity / Molecular weight distribution (MWD) for a broad range of polymers and plastic materials.

The molecular weight properties of a polymer may vary over the life cycle of a material as the polymer progresses through stages such as raw material, molding, sterilization, and storage. Our testing, insight and advice can assist you in your decision making process and help to ensure the integrity of the product.

Our expert polymer molecular weight capabilities, delivered from our laboratories in Europe and the USA, can help you to understand the composition and properties of your polymer materials and address processing and material failure issues throughout the material and product’s lifetime.


Intertek uses gel permeation chromatography (GPC), also known as size exclusion chromatography (SEC) techniques including high temperature GPC, to analyze organic soluble polymers with a MW ranging from 100 – over 10.000.000 g/mol. 

MW of polymers, soluble in organic solvents (eg. THF, Toluene, Chloroform, DMF, and others)
GPC (Gel Permeation Chromatography) and SEC (Size Exclusion Chromatography)
High Temperature Gel Permeation Chromatography (HT-GPC)
Conventional (calibration based) GPC-DRI (Differential Refractive Index detection) with polystyrene-standard (PS)-calibration or polymethylmethacrylate standards (PMMA)-calibration.
GPC-UV detection
GPC-UV / RI / SFD / Viscosimetry / ELSD / Light Scattering Detection.
Multi Angle Laser Light Scattering (MALLS)

    Intertek's polymer scientists perform MW determination for a wide range of polymer materials including acrylics, acrylates, polystyrene, polycarbonates, polysiloxanes.

    Additionally we also analyse rubbers, resins, silicone fluids, prepolymers and polyols.

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