This document specifies a general method for determining the average molecular weight and the molecular weight distribution of polymers using SEC-LS, i.e. size-exclusion chromatography coupled with light-scattering detection. The average molecular weight and the molecular weight distribution are calculated from molecular weight data and weight concentrations determined continuously with elution time. The molecular weight at each elution time is determined absolutely by combining a light-scattering detector with a concentration-sensitive detector. Therefore, SEC-LS is classified as an absolute method.
This method is applicable to linear homopolymers and to nonlinear homopolymers such as branched, star-shaped, comb-like, stereo-regular and stereo-irregular polymers. It can also be applied to heterophasic copolymers whose molecular composition cannot vary. However, SEC-LS is not applicable to block, graft or heterophasic copolymers whose molecular composition can vary. And the methods are applicable to molecular weights ranging from that of the monomer to 3 000 000, but are not intended for samples that contain > 30 % of components having a molecular weight < 1 000.