Construction and validation of an automated spray-and-trap gas chromatograph for the determination of volatile organic compounds in aqueous samples

Kuang Ling Yang, Cheng Hsun Lai, Jia Lin Wang

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10 Scopus citations

Abstract

An automated spray-and-trap (ST) chromatographic system was constructed for fast and efficient extraction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in aqueous samples with the capability to be deployed in the field for unattended continuous monitoring of surface or ground water. This system was built upon a commercial gas chromatograph with full automation capability using self-developed hardware and software. For sample analysis, fine droplets of the aqueous solution were generated in the extraction chamber by pressure expansion of a clean air stream through a spray nozzle. A portion of the VOCs distributed into the gas phase was retained by a multi-sorbent micro-trap kept at ambient temperature. Flash heating of the sorbent trap desorbed the enriched VOCs onto the gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID) for hydrocarbons or electron-capture detection (ECD) for halocarbons. In order to validate the performance of the ST method, it was compared with a more conventional method, i.e., a purge-and-trap (PT), by analyzing a serious of standard solutions containing benzene, toluene, ethylene, and o-, m-xylenes. Using a purge-and-trap method as a reference for complete extraction, the ST method showed less sensitivity. Extraction recoveries are in consistent with Henry's law constants. To test response time the ST-GC-ECD was periodically switched between tap and underground waters. Negligible carry-over of halogenated species and reproducibility better than 2% relative standard deviation (R.S.D.) can be achieved regardless of large concentration difference between the two sources, thus demonstrating applicability of the ST system for on-site monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Volume1027
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2004

Keywords

  • Automation
  • Extraction methods
  • Instrumentation
  • Purge-and-trap extraction
  • Spray-and-trap extraction
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Water analysis

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