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High Peak Health and Safety Challenge

Martin Perkins

8th August 2017

Health and Safety Lab, Jon Dunscombe, Kathy Ridgway, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry, SIFT-MS, Syft Voice200Ultra,


Recently two of our application chemists Kathy Ridgway and Jon Dunscombe visited Buxton in the Peak District with the SIFT-MS.  The aim of the trip was to investigate the use of the Voice200Ultra SIFT-MS instrument for some rather interesting applications.

We have now had the Voice200Ultra  in our applications lab in Cambridge for two years.  During this time we have discussed and tried many applications with very interesting results.

The Health and Safety Laboratory came to us with some interesting ideas where they had been asked to test/analyse things which were proving a little tricky with conventional methods.

A number of applications were investigated:

  1. Real-time multicomponent mixtures of standards from a calibration rig.  The SIFT-MS was used to measure a change in concentration of a range of compounds in a calibration test rig.  This was done in real-time which usually is difficult to achieve especially with mixtures of compounds.  This work also highlights the dynamic range of the SIFT-MS.
  2. Emissions from a 3D printer.  Recently there have been many videos showing the marvels of what can now be printed.  This has raised a question about the emissions released during printing, an experiment was set up to measure the volatiles being produced.
  3. Chloramines; many of us are aware of the swimming pool smell but what is causing this?  An experiment was set up where urine was mixed with bleach with the SIFT-MS monitoring for potential compounds released.
  4. Leak testing, how do you measure if a certain packaging material is suitable to hold a particular item?  Ideally you would need an instrument that can measure breakthrough at very low levels in real-time to a certain level of accuracy.  This is why we have investigated doing just that with the SIFT-MS.
  5. Peracetic acid and acetic acid are sometimes a little tricky to analyse but the suitability of the SIFT-MS was investigated.

You can find an application note showing some of the data here.

If you have any interesting applications for which SIFT-MS could help you, please get in touch.

In general we find that the applications suited to the SIFT-MS fall into two categories; the first being compounds or applications that are very difficult to measure by other means, for example compounds like formaldehyde or where there is a requirement for on-line real-time quantitative analysis, or for applications where high sample throughput is very important.