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Comparison of the Effectiveness of Tenax TA® and Carbotrap 300® in Concentration of Flammable Liquids Compounds

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The aim of research was to compare two adsorbents, Tenax TA® and Carbotrap 300®, to evaluate their usefulness as passive adsorbents of flammable liquids compounds. It was also to determine whether Carbotrap 300® could be used in a passive adsorption mode, contrary to manufacturer recommendations. To compare the adsorption properties and the thermal desorption efficiency for Tenax TA® and Carbotrap, the components of test mixture were adsorbed and then chromatographically analyzed. The analysis was conducted by means of an automated thermal desorber coupled with a gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer. This research established that although these adsorbents significantly differ from each other in adsorption properties, each of them can be successfully used for passive adsorption of ignitable liquids compounds. Tenax TA® turned out to be more effective for the adsorption of nonpolar, high-boiling compounds, whereas Carbotrap is more effective for polar and volatile compounds. The examined adsorbents differ in their susceptibility to thermal desorption. For Carbotrap 300®, after the analysis an additional treatment is required to remove the remnants of adsorbed compounds. With Tenax TA®, this additional step is not necessary because the thermal desorption is sufficiently effective that this product is immediately ready for re-use.
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Keywords: Carbotrap 300®; Tenax TA®; fire debris; forensic science; gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; headspace analysis; ignitable liquids; passive adsorption

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Criminalistics, Institute of Forensic Research, Krakow, Poland.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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