JOURNAL ARTICLE

Measurement of breakthrough volumes of volatile chemical warfare agents on a poly(2,6-diphenylphenylene oxide)-based adsorbent and application to thermal desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometric analysis

Mieko Kanamori-Kataoka, Yasuo Seto
Journal of Chromatography. A 2015 September 4, 1410: 19-27
26239699
To establish adequate on-site solvent trapping of volatile chemical warfare agents (CWAs) from air samples, we measured the breakthrough volumes of CWAs on three adsorbent resins by an elution technique using direct electron ionization mass spectrometry. The trapping characteristics of Tenax(®) TA were better than those of Tenax(®) GR and Carboxen(®) 1016. The latter two adsorbents showed non-reproducible breakthrough behavior and low VX recovery. The specific breakthrough values were more than 44 (sarin) L/g Tenax(®) TA resin at 20°C. Logarithmic values of specific breakthrough volume for four nerve agents (sarin, soman, tabun, and VX) showed a nearly linear correlation with the reciprocals of their boiling points, but the data point of sulfur mustard deviated from this linear curve. Next, we developed a method to determine volatile CWAs in ambient air by thermal desorption-gas chromatography (TD-GC/MS). CWA solutions that were spiked into the Tenax TA(®) adsorbent tubes were analyzed by a two-stage TD-GC/MS using a Tenax(®) TA-packed cold trap tube. Linear calibration curves for CWAs retained in the resin tubes were obtained in the range between 0.2pL and 100pL for sarin, soman, tabun, cyclohexylsarin, and sulfur mustard; and between 2pL and 100pL for VX and Russian VX. We also examined the stability of CWAs in Tenax(®) TA tubes purged with either dry or 50% relative humidity air under storage conditions at room temperature or 4°C. More than 80% sarin, soman, tabun, cyclohexylsarin, and sulfur mustard were recovered from the tubes within 2 weeks. In contrast, the recoveries of VX and Russian VX drastically reduced with storage time at room temperature, resulting in a drop to 10-30% after 2 weeks. Moreover, we examined the trapping efficiency of Tenax TA(®) adsorbent tubes for vaporized CWA samples (100mL) prepared in a 500mL gas sampling cylinder. In the concentration range of 0.2-2.5mg/m(3), >50% of sarin, soman, tabun, cyclohexylsarin, and HD were recovered, whereas <1% of VX and Russian VX were recovered in the same concentration range. The results indicate that CWA vapors, with the exception of VX and Russian VX, can be measured by an on-site collection procedure using the Tenax(®) TA resin tubes, followed by a subsequent TD-GC/MS analysis.

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