Evaluation of Adsorbent Sampling Methods for Volatile Organic Compounds in Indoor and Outdoor Air

실내·외 공기 중 휘발성 유기화합물에 대한 흡착 시료채취 방법의 평가

  • Baek, Sung-Ok (School of Civil, Urban, and Environmental Engineering, Yeungnam University) ;
  • Moon, Young-Hun (Environmental Reserach Institute, Pohang University of Science and Technology)
  • 백성옥 (영남대학교 건설환경공학부 대기환경연구실) ;
  • 문영훈 (포항공대 환경연구소)
  • Received : 2004.10.13
  • Accepted : 2004.11.02
  • Published : 2004.12.25


This study was carried out to evaluate the performance of sampling and analytical methodology used for the measurement of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the ambient air. VOCs were determined by the adsorbent tube sampling and automatic thermal desorption coupled with GC/MSD analysis. Target analytes were 33 compounds including major aromatic compounds such as BTEX, and halogenated compounds. The methodology was investigated with a wide range of different adsorbents which are commercially available and have been frequently adopted for the VOC measurement. A total of 10 adsorbents were tested in this study: 6 carbon-based adsorbents such as Carbotrap, Carbopack B, Carbosieve S-III, Carboxen 1000, Carbotrap C, Activated Charcoal; and 4 polymer-based adsorbents including Tenax, Porapak Q, Chromosorb 102, and Chromosorb 106. The sampling performance was evaluated with respect to the sampling capacity of VOCs with single-adsorbent and multiple-adsorbents methods for standard samples and field samples. As a result, the best adsorbents for single-adsorbent method in the sampling of toxic organic compounds (including benzene, toluene, xylenes etc.) appeared to be Carbotrap, Carbopack B and Tenax TA. On the other hand, Chromosorb 102, Chromosorb 106 and Porapak Q were found to be unsuitable adsorbents for VOC measurement based on thermal desorption method. Multi-adsorbent packings were evaluated with 4 carbon-based adsorbents, which classified by 3 combination sets of double adsorbents and 2 combination sets of triple adsorbents. The results indicated that the most suitable combination for toixc VOC measurements is Carbotrap C with Carbotrap. Multi-sorbents tubes packed with a strong adsorbent such as Carbosieve S-III or Carboxen 1000 were found to be relatively unsuitable for several compounds, not only owing to the effect of migration of adsorbed compounds from weaker adsorbent to stronger adsorbent, but to hydrophobic nature of the adsorbents. Therefore, it should be addressed that selection of a proper adsorbent (or combination of multi sorbents) is extremely important to obtain reliable data for the concentrations of toxic VOCs in indoor and outdoor environments.


Supported by : 영남대학교


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