Standard methods for the determination of semi-volatile organic air pollutants are
somewhat outdated and can be improved by utilising new sample concentration
techniques. Two techniques, compatible with capillary gas chromatography, were
developed in this study that show promise of increased speed, cost-efficiency and
ease of automation: An existing method, involving adsorption of pollutants on XAD resin, followed by
liquid dichloromethane extraction, was improved by replacing the subsequent
evaporative concentration step with solvent effect concentration.
A technique was developed based on thick film silicone rubber traps, known to
effectively accumulate pollutants from air. Novel multichannel traps, consisting of
a few silicone rubber tubes positioned in parallel, were made and conditioned to
give minimal degradation peaks. Breakthrough volumes were determined with the
aid of permeation tube standards. As sample recovery of these traps is by thermal
desorption, expensive solvents are not required. Sharp chromatographic peaks were
obtained without cryogenic refocusing.