High quality polymers hinge on the accurate quantification of low molecular weight compounds (< 100 Da). This is a relatively arbitrary value for molecular weights, but is applicable for monomers. Low molecular weight compounds can be underrepresented in monomers during polymer development playing a pivotal role in the quality and integrity of the final products. Unfortunately, conventional detectors often struggle to provide the necessary sensitivity for accurate analysis of these compounds.

Enter the Polyarc® System, a revolutionary GC/FID add-on solution that enhances sensitivity and uniform response to small molecules, significantly advancing the analysis of low molecular weight compounds.

In this post, we will delve into the importance of sensitivity in impurity analysis, explore the challenges faced in quantification, and showcase the transformative impact of the Polyarc® System in the realm of polymer science.

The Significance of Low Molecular Weight Compounds
Low molecular weight compounds, such as formaldehyde, acetic acid, acrylonitrile, acrolein, and methanol, can have profound effects on the properties and performance of polymers. In polymer development, even minute traces of impurities can impact the structural integrity and mechanical properties of the final product. During the production of monomers there can be numerous side products. After separation processes, the impurities can have low part per million concentrations (< 10 ppm) that must be checked by QA/QC laboratories. The accurate quantification of impurities can be critical for ensuring safety as well, given the carcinogenic properties of compounds like acrolein.

Challenges in Quantification: Conventional Detectors vs. The Polyarc® System
Traditional detectors, such as flame ionization detectors (FIDs) and mass spectrometers, may struggle to produce strong signals for these low molecular weight compounds due to their unique functional groups and chemical properties. A high ratio of heteroatoms to carbon will lead to low sensitivity in an FID. This leads to poor limits of detection and additional calibrations to account for detector variability to each compound. As a result, quantification can be unreliable, leading to potential inaccuracies in product assessment. In addition, obtaining calibration standards for reactive or adsorptive compounds can be costly and problematic.

The Polyarc® System, with its innovative approach, addresses these challenges head-on. By converting the carbon in these compounds to methane, the Polyarc® System significantly enhances their signal in the FID. This conversion leads to a sensitivity increase, allowing the detection and quantification of even trace impurities with unprecedented precision. Sensitivity increase for compounds can range from 10,000% for formic acid or carbonyl sulfide down to 30% for acrylonitrile. With the Polyarc® System, researchers can achieve sensitivity levels as low as 0.1 ppm, ensuring that even the smallest concentrations of impurities are captured, and analyzed, effectively.

If you are curious about the potential increase in sensitivity for your analysis with the Polyarc® System, please reach out to us with your list of compounds at

The Polyarc® System’s Impact in Polymer Science
In the field of polymer science, the Polyarc® System has proven itself to be a game-changer. By offering enhanced sensitivity and accurate quantification of low molecular weight compounds, the Polyarc® System empowers researchers and manufacturers to assess the purity of monomer and intermediates with confidence. With the elimination of the need for potentially reactive or labile standards, the Polyarc® System streamlines workflows, saving time and resources.

Moreover, the system’s ability to measure trace amounts of impurities, such as formaldehyde or carbonyl sulfide, enables manufacturers to optimize their processes, reduce impurity levels, and enhance the overall performance of their products.

The Polyarc® System has also found applications in catalyst designs, providing valuable insights into the reaction chemistry arising from polymerization processes.

The Polyarc® System represents a significant advancement in the determination of low molecular weight compounds in polymer science.

By providing unmatched sensitivity and uniform response, the Polyarc® System empowers researchers and manufacturers to achieve precise and reliable results, ensuring the quality and integrity of their products. The Polyarc® System streamlines workflows and enhances the understanding of impurities, leading to optimized processes and improved product performance. The Polyarc® System’s impact on improved FID analysis of low molecular weight compound determination is a significant benefit to GC-FID analysis.

To discuss the Polyarc System and learn how it can help generate the results you are after – schedule a call with Connor Beach, Technical Sales Engineer. He can provide additional information, answer your questions, and guide you in integrating the Polyarc System into your lab:

Connor Beach

Technical Sales Engineer

+1 612.444.3626