In our Gas Chromatography (GC) laboratory we identify and quantitate volatile molecules. "Volatiles" includes a wide variety of chemical families: flavors and fragrances, additives for polymers and rubber, solvents and bulk chemicals, components of paints and adhesives, herbicides and pesticides, certain pharmaceutical components, as well as many other types of molecules.
We have several sample introduction methods available for different samples types in a GC chemical analysis. The simplest sample introduction method consists of solubilizing the sample in a volatile solvent and injection of that solution into the GC. We may also sample the headspace content by Heated Headspace (HH) or Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) techniques. The Purge and Trap (P&T) sample introduction system pre-concentrates volatiles and allows for the detection of very low level (parts-per-billion or parts-per-trillion) components. Our automated samplers in this laboratory provide reproducible injections and permit analysis of samples round-the-clock. Insoluble materials may be characterized by pyrolysis; the samples are burned and the pyrolysis products are introduced into the GC for chemical identification.
Coupling the GC to various detectors allows for identification and quantitation of the analytes. A Flame Ionization Detector (FID) burns the eluent from the GC and resulting charged particles create a current between the detector's electrodes. The FID is extremely sensitive for hydrocarbons and provides very accurate and precise quantitation. We use Mass Spectrometry (MS) detectors to identify an analyte by mass. The electron ionization method fragments the analytes into daughter ions, allowing for definitive identification by comparing the experimental mass spectra to our extensive library of mass spectra.
We can optimize an analysis for your specific needs by matching the appropriate sample introduction technique with the appropriate detection technique.
The identification of volatile components by gas chromatography is invaluable in the deformulation or failure analysis of plastics, polymers, adhesives, sealants, paints, and other materials.
More information about Gas Chromatography techniques: