We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Normal-phase (temperature gradient) interaction chromatography – A powerful tool for the characterisation of high molecular weight chain-end functionalised polymers.

Hutchings, Lian R. and Agostini, S. and Oti, Matthew E. and Keth, Jennifer (2015) 'Normal-phase (temperature gradient) interaction chromatography – A powerful tool for the characterisation of high molecular weight chain-end functionalised polymers.', European polymer journal., 73 . pp. 105-115.


We report here, for the first time, quantitative analysis of end-group functionalisation and the extent of end-group modification of polymers with molar mass up to 200,000 g mol−1, using a combination of isothermal and temperature gradient interaction chromatography. At such high molecular weights, other common analytical techniques such as MALDI-ToF-MS and NMR spectroscopy are simply unable to offer any quantitative insight into the end-group functionality of polymers. Thus, normal phase isothermal interaction chromatography (NP-IIC) has been used to characterise a series of polystyrene samples, with identical molar mass (c. 90,000 g mol−1), each carrying a single chain-end functionality of varying polarity, introduced via a series of end-group transformation reactions – from silyl-protected alcohol → primary alcohol → alkyl bromide. It is shown that the polarity of the functional group dictates the elution volume of the polymers and that NP-IIC could be used to monitor the quantitative end-group transformation. Thus, rather than estimating the success of the transformation reaction from the very small peaks observed in 1H NMR spectra, NP-IIC gives clear chromatographic peaks, whose retention volumes change dramatically only as a consequence of each new chain-end functional group. We also describe the analysis, by a combination of normal phase isothermal and temperature gradient interaction chromatography, of a series of linear polybutadiene samples of varying molar mass (28,000–200,000 g mol−1) each carrying a single primary alcohol functionality at the chain-end. The primary alcohol functionality enabled the separation of functionalised and non-functionalised polymers, which eluted at different retention volumes despite identical molecular weights. It is all the more remarkable that complete (baseline) resolution can be achieved for two polymers with an identical molar mass (<200,000 g mol−1), which differ only in that one sample is functionalised with a single primary alcohol group.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Polymer characterisation, Temperature gradient interaction chromatography (TGIC), Anionic polymerisation, End-functionalised polymers.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2015 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:08 October 2015
Date deposited:09 November 2015
Date of first online publication:08 October 2015
Date first made open access:08 April 2017

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar