, 18:1349 | Cite as

Following cellulose depolymerization in paper: comparison of size exclusion chromatography techniques

  • Tomasz Łojewski
  • Katarzyna Zięba
  • Andrzej Kołodziej
  • Joanna Łojewska


The study focuses on the comparison of the results obtained by size exclusion chromatography (SEC) detection systems using multiangle laser light scattering (MALLS) and/or ultraviolet–visible (UV/VIS) detectors in analyses of cellulose in paper-based heritage objects. The commonly applied parameter for the evaluation of paper degradation stage and kinetics is weight (M w ) average molar mass measured by SEC. The main problems addressed here are whether the parameters obtained by various techniques and calibration strategies and in various laboratories can be treated universally and what the sources of the discrepancies can be. The SEC-UV/VIS technique proved to give reproducible results as demonstrated by the interlaboratory correlations. Using various data processing methods and SEC techniques it was also shown that molar masses should only be treated relatively. The differences between the kinetic curves based on the M w values obtained from various techniques and processed with various calibration procedures question the reliability of kinetic equations derived using the SEC results to describe the paper degradation.


Size exclusion chromatography Molecular mass determination Universal calibration Paper degradation 

List of symbols


Second virial coefficient in Rayleigh equation—solvent–solute interactions


Scattering angle


Concentration of a polymer, mg cm−3


Degree of polymerization


Intrinsic viscosity, cm3 g−1


Rate constant in Ekestam equation, s−1


Optical constant in Rayleigh equation

K, a

Mark–Houwink-Sekurada (MHS) coefficients in Eq. 1 describing the relation between intrinsic viscosity of a polymer solution (η) and its molar mass M


Vacuum wavelength of incident beam, nm


Molar mass of anhydrous glucopyranose triscarbanilate unit, 519 g mol−1


Molar mass of a polymer, g mol−1


Number average molar mass, g mol−1


Viscosity average molar mass, g mol−1


Weight average molar mass, g mol−1


Refractive index of a solvent


Avogadro’s number


Refractive index increment


Mean square radius of the molecule


Form factor in Rayleigh equation—scattered light dependence on angle


Excess Rayleigh ratio—the difference between Rayleigh ratio for a solution and a pure solvent


Degradation time, days


Time of elution, min


Elution volume, cm3


Fraction of molar mass M of a polymer



The funds from the Project SPB 811/N-COST/2010/0 of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education is kindly acknowledged. The interlaboratory comparison was based on the results obtained during PaperTreat project (No. SSPI-006584) supported by the European Commission under the 6th FP. We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Jana Kolar for kind permission for use in this work the results obtained in National and University Library in Ljubljana.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomasz Łojewski
    • 1
  • Katarzyna Zięba
    • 1
  • Andrzej Kołodziej
    • 2
  • Joanna Łojewska
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland
  2. 2.Institute of Chemical Engineering, Polish Academy of SciencesGliwicePoland

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