Analysis of GC/MS Thermal Desorption system with simultaneous sniffing for determination of off-odor compounds and VOCs in Fumes Formed during Extrusion Coating of Low-density Polyethylene

Kirsi Villberg (Corresponding Author), Anja Veijanen

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A thermal desorption equipment introducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric system (GC/MS) with simultaneous sniffing (SNIFF) is a suitable method for identifying the volatile organic off-odor compounds formed during the extrusion coating process of low-density polyethylene. Fumes emitted during the extrusion coating process of three different plastic materials were collected at two different temperatures (285 and 315 °C) from an outgoing pipe and near an extruder. The VOCs of fumes were analyzed by drawing a known volume of air through the adsorbent tube filled with a solid adsorbent (Tenax GR). The air samples were analyzed by using a special thermal desorption device and GC/MS determination. The simultaneous sniffing was carried out to detect off-odors and to assist in the identification of those compounds that contribute to tainting and smelling. The amounts of off-odor carbonyl compounds and the total content of the volatile organic compounds were determined. The most odorous compounds were identified as carboxylic acids while the majority of the volatile compounds were hydrocarbons. The detection and quantification of carboxylic acids were based on the characteristic ions of their mass spectra. The higher the extrusion temperature the more odors were detected. An important observation was that the total concentration of volatiles was dependent not only on the extrusion temperature but also on the plastic material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-977
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • volatile organic compounds
  • VOC
  • methods
  • coatings
  • polyethylene
  • fumes

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