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Analysis of Formaldehyde from a Wax Candle Flame Using SIFT-MS

Martin Perkins

11th November 2015


Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can be present in air from a number of sources, having an impact on air quality. Combustion is known to produce formaldehyde, meaning candle smoke is a potential source within the home. As a small, polar molecule, determination of levels of formaldehyde are not straightforward by traditional chromatographic techniques. Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) enables direct sampling of combustion products from a burning candle. This application note describes the quantitative analysis of formaldehyde around a burning candle flame. The results showed good instrument precision and the amount of formaldehyde degassed from the candle sampled was found to be 6.4 mg/m3.

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