The final bond may be more susceptible to hydrolysis because of its proximity to the acidic chain end which may catalyse the hydrolysis reaction. Given a typical polymer chain may consist of several thousand bonds, a large number of end scissions may be required per chain in order for the reduction in chain length to be comparable to a single random scission. Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) is often used to determine molecular weight. In GPC the time taken for polymer chains to pass through a column of porous beads is affected by their molecular weight. The fraction of the polymer within chains of a given molecular weight range can be calculated to find the distribution of molecular weights. However, it may not be possible to differentiate between low molecular weight chains, which are beyond the scope of GPC.
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Last date updated on July, 2014