162. Development of Aqueous Size Exclusion Chromatography Conditions to Characterize Polyzwitterion-block-N-isopropyl acrylamide Copolymers
Block copolymers that exhibit both an upper critical solution temperature and a lower critical solution temperature are difficult to characterize due to inherent solubility difference between the two blocks. For example, accurate determination of both the molar mass and molar mass distribution is challenging for polyzwitterion-block-N-isopropyl acrylamide (NIPAM) copolymers in aqueous solutions due to self-assembly. However, there are a few examples of using size exclusion chromatography (SEC) for characterization, in which hexafluoro isopropanol (HFIP) is used in all cases. Yet, researchers are hesitant to use this solvent due to how expensive and hazardous HFIP is. Therefore, alternatives to HFIP for SEC analysis would be desirable. Here, a systematic methodology featuring aqueous SEC is demonstrated using several solvent conditions to enable the elution of polyzwitterion-block-NIPAM copolymers on Agilent PolarGel and Tosoh TSKgel column sets. These SEC conditions include 0.2 M KI in water on the PolarGel columns and 0.2 M KI/ 30 % DMF in water on the PolarGel and TSKgel columns. These aqueous systems can be utilized for the characterization of similar water-soluble block copolymers that are relevant for drug delivery and other biomedical applications.