GPC (or SEC) analysis in a laboratory

Your needs : to characterize the size of your molecules using GPC or SEC

What do we mean by GPC/SEC?

Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC), also known as Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC), is a characterization technique used to determine the average molecular mass and distribution of molecular masses in a given sample. The dissolved sample is injected in a mobile phase (the eluent) into a column with controlled porosity (called the stationary phase).

By using this type of chromatography with a series of detectors (IR, UV, RALS light diffusion, Viscometer), the GPC/SEC technique allows for the exact mass and size of molecules to be determined as well as the intrinsic viscosity of polymer structures to be measured.

How is GPC/SEC used ?

GPC/SEC is an analytical technique used to characterize a wide variety of polymers or other macromolecules found in mixtures.

Used in quality control processes, when optimizing a procedure (ex. polymerization kinetics) or as part of an expertise (detection of pollutants or of contaminants…), this technique can meet the requirements of many industrialists in various fields : pharmaceuticals, plastics, chemistry, automobiles, foodstuffs, paints, lubricants, adhesives…

GPC polymer characterization

Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) is a useful technique for polymer characterization. Gel permeation chromatography can be used to analyze copolymer and oligomers. GPC is especially useful for determining molecular weight distributions of polymeric materials, and for monitoring degradation processes. 

To proceed with polymer characterization, Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) is a valuable technique. Considering its efficacy, gel permeation chromatography is extensively utilized across various industries for polymer analysis. From pharmaceuticals to food packaging, gel permeation chromatography provides an accurate and precise method for measuring the molecular weight distribution of polymer samples. Its ability to separate individual polymers within complex mixtures makes it an invaluable tool for researchers and manufacturers looking to better understand the properties and behavior of polymer materials. With its widespread use and versatility, gel permeation chromatography has become a standard tool for analyzing polymers across a broad range of industries.

This technique is particularly important when examining the critical quality attributes of medical products such as bio-pharmaceuticals and vaccines, making gel permeation chromatography an indispensable tool in material science and biomedicine research.

Our solution : to characterize the structure of your macromolecules using GPC/SEC

Our services

From analysis to R&D, FILAB laboratory provides multidisciplinary expertise to fulfil different requests surrounding the GPC/SEC technique :

  • Inspection of the average molecular mass and distribution of masses in polymer-based materials and substances (Mn, Mw, Mp ?, dispersity index). The NF T 51-505 standard and the ISO 13885 set cover this service.  

  • Structural characterization, namely branching analysis of macromolecular chains

  • Optimization of manufacturing procedures in order to improve synthesis, application and curing conditions   

  • Defect expertise of thermoplastic parts linked to degradations of the polymeric fraction (shearing of the material leading to chain scission)

  • Deformulation/Reverse engineering of polymers to understand their physicochemical properties using techniques such as FTIR, TGA, GC-MS, Py-GC-MS, LC-MS…     

  • Protein and polysaccharide characterization (sugars).

For this type of service, FILAB laboratory uses cutting edge analytical techniques such as Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC/SEC) as well as Gas Chromatography coupled to a Mass Spectrometer after undergoing pyrolysis (Py-GCMS), Liquid Chromatography (LC-MSMS, HPLC…) followed up with other characterization techniques or even chemical analysis techniques (ICP-AES, ICP-MS, IC…).


As an independent laboratory, with a team made up of experienced doctors and engineers, FILAB guarantees the reliability of its results, ensures a quick turnaround for requests and provides tailored support for its clients.

Notre FAQ

Why is GPC useful in polymer characterization?

By examining the size, shape, and charge of molecules, laboratories can better understand the properties of polymers, as well as their behavior in various conditions. The technique works by separating molecules with smaller molecules passing through a porous gel matrix more quickly than larger ones. 

GPC analysis is particularly useful for gaining insights into the structure of complex polymer materials, making it a valuable tool for researchers and manufacturers looking to optimize their materials for specific applications. This type of analysis is essential for creating new materials, improving existing ones, and optimizing production processes. The ability to fine tune polymer properties can have far-reaching implications, from improving medical devices to developing new and advanced technologies. 

What industries are concerned with GPC analysis for gpc polymer characterization?

Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) analysis is used across various industries: petrochemicals, biopharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and polymers. Its versatility makes it indispensable for analyzing proteins and biomolecules in pharmaceutical development and quality control. 

GPC is also used in monitoring process-related changes in polymers, such as those found in adhesives and coatings. In the food industry, it facilitates the analysis of additives, stabilizers, and monitoring product shelf life. The petrochemical sector commonly relies on a GPC for petroleum analysis, fuel quality assessment, and oil spill detection. Moreover, GPC aids researchers in obtaining vital information on product quality within the polymer industry.

What are the advantages of gel permeation chromatography analysis?

GPC offers many advantages including its detection speed, reproducible results, high accuracy and precise size resolution. The technique also requires minimal sample preparation and allows the use of aqueous mobile phases, which can be advantageous when analyzing hydrophobic compounds or sensitive biomolecules. The technique is versatile enough to accommodate a variety of materials such as proteins, polymers and synthetic molecules.

Thomas ROUSSEAU Scientific and Technical Director
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