Mesoporous silicate MCM-48 as an enrichment medium for ambient volatile organic compound analysis

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This study investigated the sorption/desorption properties of MCM-48 and its applicability as a sorbent for on-line gas chromatographic analysis of ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs). To establish a valid comparison, commercially available carbon sorbents were evaluated under similar analytical conditions. Two trapping temperatures of 30°C and -20°C, representing ambient and sub-ambient temperatures, were tested by trapping a full range of VOCs from C2-C12. At ambient temperatures, due to the mesoporosity, the MCM-48 showed considerably limited trapping efficiency compared to microporous carbon sorbents on the highly volatile section of VOCs and only began to show effective trapping for compounds larger than C7. Cooling to sub-ambient temperatures (e.g., -20°C) extended the effective trapping down to C4 VOCs, drastically increasing the applicability of MCM-48 as an in-line enrichment medium for gas chromatographic analysis of VOCs. The mesoporosity of MCM-48 also aided desorption. Much lower desorption temperatures (100-180°C) were required for full desorption as compared to the temperatures (greater than 200°C) required for carbon sorbents. Moreover, the easy desorption was accompanied by a low memory effect, as the large pores of MCM-48 can clean up more efficiently after desorption, with little residue left behind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5643-5651
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Carbon sorbents
  • Mesoporous silicate MCM-48
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)


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