Ozone artifacts and carbonyl measurements using Tenax GR, Tenax TA, Carbopack B, and Carbopack X adsorbents

Jae Hwan Lee, Stuart A Batterman, Chunrong Jia, Sergei Chernyak
Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 2006, 56 (11): 1503-17
Four popular thermally desorbable adsorbents used for air sampling (Tenax TA, Tenax GR, Carbopack B, and Carbopack X) are examined for the potential to form artifacts with ozone (O3) at environmental concentrations. The performance of these adsorbents for the ketone and aldehyde species identified as O3-adsorbent artifacts was also characterized, including recovery, linearity, and method detection limits (MDLs). Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, 13 different artifacts were identified and confirmed for both Tenax TA and Tenax GR, 9 for Carbopack B, but none for Carbopack X. Several O3 artifacts not reported previously were identified, including: pentanal, 3-hexanone, 2-hexanone, hexanal, 3-heptanone, and heptanal with Tenax TA; pentanal, 3-hexanone, 2-hexanone, hexanal, and 3-heptanone on Tenax GR; and 1-octene and 1-nonene with Carbopack B. Levels of straight-chain aldehyde artifacts rapidly diminished after a few cycles of adsorbent conditioning/O3 exposure, and concentrations could be predicted using a first-order model. Phenyl-substituted carbonyl artifacts (benzaldehyde and acetophenone) persisted on Tenax TA and GR even after 10 O3 exposure-conditioning cycles. O3 breakthrough through the adsorbent bed was most rapid in adsorbents that yielded the highest levels of artifacts. Overall, artifact composition and concentration are shown to depend on O3 concentration and dose, conditioning method, and adsorbent type and age. Calibrations showed good linearity, and most compounds had reasonable recoveries, for example, 90 +/- 15% for Tenax TA, 97 +/- 23% for Tenax GR, 101 +/- 24% for Carbopack B, and 79 +/- 25% (91 +/- 9% for n-aldehydes) for Carbopack X. Benzeneacetaldehyde recovery was notably poorer (22-63% across the four adsorbents). MDLs for several compounds were relatively high, up to 5 ng. By accounting for both artifact formation and method performance, this work helps to identify which carbonyl compounds can be measured using thermally desorbable adsorbents and which may be prone to bias because of the formation of O3-adsorbent artifacts.

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