TECHNICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR CHOOSING PROPANE AS A CALIBRATION AGENT FOR TOTAL FLAMMABLE VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND (VOC) DETERMINATIONS
Description: This document presents the technical justification for choosing and using propane as a calibration standard for estimating total flammable volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in an air matrix. A propane-in-nitrogen standard was selected based on a number of criteria: (1) has an analytical response similar to the VOCs of interest, (2) can be made with known accuracy and traceability, (3) is available with good purity, (4) has a matrix similar to the sample matrix, (5) is stable during storage and use, (6) is relatively non-hazardous, and (7) is a recognized standard for similar analytical applications. The Waste Retrieval Project (WRP) desires a fast, reliable, and inexpensive method for screening the flammable VOC content in the vapor-phase headspace of waste containers. Table 1 lists the flammable VOCs of interest to the WRP. The current method used to determine the VOC content of a container is to sample the container's headspace and submit the sample for gas chromatography--mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. The driver for the VOC measurement requirement is safety: potentially flammable atmospheres in the waste containers must be allowed to diffuse prior to processing the container. The proposed flammable VOC screening method is to inject an aliquot of the headspace sample into an argon-doped pulsed-discharge helium ionization detector (Ar-PDHID) contained within a gas chromatograph. No actual chromatography is performed; the sample is transferred directly from a sample loop to the detector through a short, inert transfer line. The peak area resulting from the injected sample is proportional to the flammable VOC content of the sample. However, because the Ar-PDHID has different response factors for different flammable VOCs, a fundamental assumption must be made that the agent used to calibrate the detector is representative of the flammable VOCs of interest that may be in the headspace samples. At worst, we desire that calibration ...
Date: July 6, 2006
Creator: DOUGLAS, J.G.
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