In this study, ultrahigh-molecular-weight (MW) (>10 7 Da) cationic polyacrylamides (C-PAMs), which are water-soluble polymers used in waste water treatment, were characterized using frit-inlet asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation coupled with multi-angle light scattering and differential refractive detection. C-PAMs copolymerized with acryloxyethyltrimethyl ammonium chloride (DAC) were prepared by varying the feed amount of cationic monomer, polymerization method (solution vs. emulsion), and degree of branching. The MW of the copolymers prepared using emulsion polymerization (10 7 –10 9 Da) was generally larger than that of copolymers prepared using solution polymerization (4 × 10 7 –10 8 Da). When the amount of cationic monomer was increased from 10 to 55 mol% in solution polymerization, hydrophobic contraction of the core induced formation of more compact C-PAMs. The copolymers prepared using emulsion polymerization formed highly aggregated or supercoil structures owing to increased intermolecular hydrophobic interaction when less cationic monomer was used. However, the MW decreased with increased cationic group content. In addition, C-PAMs larger than ∼10 8 Da prepared using the emulsion method were separated by steric/hyperlayer elution mode while those in the 10 7 –10 8 Da range were analyzed in either normal or steric/hyperlayer mode depending on the decay patterns of field programming. Moreover, branched copolymers were found to be resolved with different elution modes under the same field decay pattern depending on the degree of branching: steric/hyperlayer for low-branching and normal for high-branching C-PAMs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry