Is Tyre Wear an Underestimated Source of Air Pollution? Comprehensive Analysis of Tyre Emissions by Thermal Desorption (TD) and GC-MS

Air Monitoring, Methods, and Technology
Poster Presentation

Prepared by H. Calder1, L. McGregor2, L. Miles1
1 - Markes International, 1000B Central Park, Western Avenue, Bridgend, (State/Province), CF31 3RT, United Kingdom
2 - Sepsolve Analytical, 4 Swan Court, Forder Way, Hampton, Peterborough, PE7 8GX, United Kingdom

Contact Information: [email protected]; 01443230935


As technology for managing exhaust emissions has improved the impact of non-exhaust emissions is now the topic of growing concern for human health and the environment. It is important to obtain a comprehensive view of all possible sources emissions from vehicles, including those generated through tyre wear.

Pollution from tyres is of particular concern as they are thought to generate more particulate and VOC emissions than exhausts, as well as being a source of microplastics. This emission is then increased in heavier battery electric vehicles which are typically 40% heavier than combustion engine vehicles.

However, the analysis of tyres emissions remains a challenge due to sample and matrix complexity. In recent years, the complexity of such samples has been revealed using the improved separation of comprehensive two-dimensional GC coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC–TOF MS). This leaves the question of how to monitor the impact of tyre emissions in the environment. Two chemicals of interest which could potentially be used for this are 6PPD and 6PPD-quinone.

In this study we will demonstrate the suitability of Thermal Desorption for sensitive sampling of gaseous emissions from tyres at temperatures which mimic road conditions. When coupled with GC×GC–TOF MS and novel chemometric analysis, this provides improved chemical fingerprinting of emissions to enhance our understanding of how vehicles may impact the environment and human health. We will also assess whether 6PPD and 6PPD-quinone measured in particulate samples taken onto filters show promise as a method for assessing rubber content in samples when analysed using TD-GC-MS.