Application Note Re-View: AS231: Analysis of a Range of Polymers by Automated Pyrolysis GC-MS Using the GERSTEL Pyro
In recent years, significant media attention has rightly highlighted the issue of single use plastics in the environment. This is because these plastics often get shredded/abraded into microplastic that end up in the ocean being consumed by aquatic organisms. Therefore, this Application Note Re-View looks back at AS231 which investigates conducting automated pyrolysis GC-MS using the GERSTEL Pyro for polymer analysis.
Automated Pyrolysis Analysis GC-MS is a technique that allows identification of the polymeric material by subjecting the sample to high temperatures (up to 1000 ˚C) in an inert atmosphere, the resulting pyrolysis products are transferred to the GC-MS for Chromatographic separation and analysis.
These pyrograms can be compared with those of standards or literature data to allow the identification of unknown plastics.
This application note demonstrated the use of the GERSTEL pyrolysis module to generate pyrograms for standard polymeric samples and unknown polymeric materials provided by the University of Birmingham. Mixtures of the polymer samples were also prepared and the chromatograms interpreted to identify the polymers present.
This approach could significantly aid polymer analysis by increasing the speed and accuracy of microplastic identification if an appropriate microplastic filter design could be devised.
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