Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 24–29 | Cite as

Determination of Mark-Houwink Parameters and Absolute Molecular Weight of Medium-Chain-Length Poly(3-Hydroxyalkanoates)

  • Manoj Nerkar
  • Juliana A. Ramsay
  • Bruce A. Ramsay
  • Marianna Kontopoulou
  • Robin A. Hutchinson
Original Paper


Absolute molecular weight distributions were determined for different medium-chain-length poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (MCL PHAs) with predominantly 3-hydroxyoctanoate (PHO), 3-hydroxynonanoate (PHN) or 3-hydroxydodecanoate content. This is the first study to estimate the Mark-Houwink constants of these polymers in the commonly employed GPC carrier solvent tetrahydrofuran (THF). The absolute molecular weight averages were determined via triple-detector size exclusion chromatography and combined with analyses using various detectors. Unlike with the short-chain-length poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), PHB, uncorrected polystyrene calibration in THF provided a good estimate (within 10 %) of absolute MW values for these MCL PHAs, irrespective of side chain length. Weight-average MW values ranged from 172,000 Da for PHO to 18,200 for PHN with 30 mol% 3-hydroxyheptanoate, and dispersities of all samples were close to two. Melt viscosity data suggested an entanglement molecular weight around 8 × 104 Da, significantly higher than most polymers.


Polyhydroxyalkanoate Medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoate Viscosity Absolute molecular weight 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manoj Nerkar
    • 1
  • Juliana A. Ramsay
    • 1
  • Bruce A. Ramsay
    • 2
  • Marianna Kontopoulou
    • 1
  • Robin A. Hutchinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Polyferm Canada Inc.OntarioCanada

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