Direct Analysis of Air Samples by GC and GC/MS

Oral Presentation

Prepared by P. Macek1, E. Bock2, Z. Easton3, E. Jong4, H. McNair5, R. Shrestha6, B. Strahm7
1 - Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Inc., 7102 Riverwood Dr., Columbia, MD, 21046, United States
2 - Virginia Tech, Zeitz Hall, 155 Ag Quad Lane, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States
3 - Virginia Tech, Seitz Hall, RM 205, 155 Ag Quad Lane, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States
4 - VCCER, Virginia Tech Research Center, 900 N. Glebe RD, Arlington, VA, 22203, United States
5 - Virginia Tech, 306 Davidson Hall, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States
6 - Ohio State University, 1734 North High Street, Columbus, OH, 43210, United States
7 - Virginia Tech, Forest Res & Environ Cons, 228 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 804-432-8912


Analysis of air and gas samples by gas chromatography has been performed for years. Familiar techniques include purge and trap, thermal desorption, solid phase micro-extraction (SPME), and static headspace. Recent improvements in instrument sensitivity, particularly in GC/MS, are allowing more samples to be analyzed by direct injection without the need for concentration. While direct analysis of air samples is becoming a common analytical technique, information and procedures detailing the specifics of how to perform such analyses are lacking. Over the years the authors have cumulatively spent many hours performing literature searches that have returned very little specific information on how to perform calibration, and analysis of gas samples by direct injection onto a GC or GC/MS. This presentation details critical techniques including standard preparation, sample preparation, column selection, injection technique, and the two most vexing issues, contamination control and production of reproducible results.