In-can VOC determinations by means of gas chromatography (GC)

Since people spend most of the day inside, the use of solvent-free paints is preferred nowadays. The absence of solvents is tested using a gas chromatography procedure in accordance with ISO 17895.

The samples are tempered in an oven. The volatile organic compounds (VOC) in interior paints are thus released and transferred to a gas chromatograph. There, they are separated and VOCs up to 250°C are detected as sum parameters by means of flame ionisation detection (FID). Quantification is based on a standard addition.

Environmental analysis: emission chamber measurements of coatings

To create a healthy living environment, interior paints and other coating materials for use inside must have low emissions.

Emissions from interior coatings are calculated using standardised test chambers pursuant to the European standard EN 16402, based on the ISO 16000 series of standards.

Coating samples are placed in a miniaturised ‘model room’ and air samples are taken at defined periods after 3, 7 and 28 days. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are collected on sorption material and examined by means of gas chromatography. Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde are collected on carrier material (DNPH cartridges) and analysed by means of liquid chromatography.

The volatile organic compounds are transferred to a gas chromatograph device by means of heating the sample taken from the sample tube. There, the substances are separated on a chromatographic pillar and then analysed with a mass spectrometry detector. This labourious but highly sensitive method enables complex organic compounds to be identified and quantified in the trace level of one billionth by volume in air (1 ppb or 1.2 µg per 1m³ air). Emissions from products for the German market are then evaluated in accordance with the so-called AgBB scheme (Allgemeiner Ausschuss zur gesundheitlichen Bewertung von Bauprodukten, i. e. Committee for Health-related Evaluation of Construction Products).