Without complex sample preparation, analytical pyrolysis is providing a fast and reliable material characterization of practically any kind of organic sample. Unsolvable, non-volatile, solid and liquid samples can be analyzed directly. Typical samples for analytical pyrolysis are plastics, rubbers, coatings but also natural polymeric materials like wood, coal or paper. Only a very small sample amount in the range of about 50-300 µg is required what is ideal for forensic applications or micro plastic determination in environmental samples. The multifunctional pyrolysis system EGA/PY-3030D, coupled to modern GC/MS system, is providing a range of analytical methods for various analytical challenges.
The sample material is placed into a special, easy to handle sample cup made of deactivated stainless steel. If a ” single shot” flash pyrolysis is performed, the sample cups fall free into the pre-heated furnace (typically 600 °C). The sample will be fragmented in millisecond range and transferred into the gas phase. Using GC/MS, the components will be separated on the analytical capillary column, detected by MS and can be identified by Frontier Lab’ s unique polymer and additive search software and library “F-SEARCH”.
The multishot pyrolyzer EGA/PY-3030D is equipped with a programmable ceramic heater (up to 600 °C/min), enabling - beside single shot pyrolysis - thermal desorption, heart cut and evolved gas analysis. The extraordinary reproducibility is ensured by accurate and controlled heating rate (+/- 0.1°C) and inert surfaces.
Frontier Labs developed a series of techniques referred to as a “ method map” to chemically characterize the composition of different type of samples. First, EGA-MS is performed. EGA-MS is an analytical method where the sample is heated up slowly from low to high temperatures. The evolved gas is directly transferred to the MS detector using a short, deactivated capillary without separation phase. This method is providing a thermal profile (EGA Thermogram) of the whole sample according to the different boiling points of the compounds and indicates optimal thermal desorption and pyrolysis temperatures for the subsequent analytical steps. In fact, the multi-mode pyrolyzer allows multiple analyses on a single sample. These methods are double shot or heart cut analysis because single shot pyrolysis could lead to very complex results that are difficult to interpret, when using complex material. The double shot method combines a thermal desorption step followed by pyrolysis to separate the volatile compounds from high boiling fragments methodically. Heart Cut slices the EGA thermogram to multiple thermal zones and combines multiple TD-GC/MS steps (up to 8 thermal sections programmable) analyze components with different boiling points independently. By doing so, the resulting chromatograms are much easier to interpret and allows a reliable identification of the compounds as overlapping peaks will be avoided or minimized.
Of course, all analytical steps can be automated by the optional autosampler AS1020E.
Frontier Lab’s pyrolyzer and accessories can be easily installed on almost all commercially available GC/MS platforms.