Comparison of different analytical methods for volatile and odour-active substances in polyolefins

Helene Hopfer, Christian Sauer, Nina Haar, Erich Leitner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emissions of volatiles of polymeric materials are an important parameter for materials characterisation, and gain more and more importance either by their odour activity or by other undesired behaviour. Currently, numerous methods are applied for the determination of volatiles, but all of them use gas chromatography (GC) with different detectors. The information gained by flame ionisation detection (FID) is the total emitted volatiles expressed as a sum value, but no further deeper information is provided. Additionally, due to different sample amounts, preparation, way of sampling and GC parameters, results cannot be compared to each other. Also, determination of single sum values by integrating the total area of volatiles is of little help for material development due to the lack of detailed information about chemical composition, and other methods have to be applied. Other compounds of interest such as odour-active ones turn up in only very small amounts and cannot be detected by these methods as an extensive analytical sample preparation is necessary. We compare results obtained by different sample preparation techniques used in industrial standards (VDA 277 and VDA278) to scientific alternatives such as Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) coupled to GC with mass spectrometry (MS) and Simultaneous Distillation/Extraction SDE coupled to GC-MS to demonstrate capabilities and applicability of each method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalMacromolecular Symposia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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