Material Analysis and Indoor Chemistry

Research project

Application of Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) in indoor air analysis 

The continuous detection of organic substances in room air or during an emission test chamber measurement is extremely useful for the characterisation of material emissions. Real-time data capture of emissions is an important supplement to classical analysis, particularly in the case of fast release processes. 

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Mobiles PTR-MS

Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) enables relevant investigations under normal air pressure conditions. Due to the fact that the measuring device is directly coupled to the system which is to be examined, information can be recorded in real-time, without the need for discontinuous sampling. Under suitable testing conditions, various substances can be thereby recorded in parallel.

In the conducted study, various applications for PTR-MS in the analysis of indoor room air were tested and evaluated. These included the detection of unsaturated volatile organic compounds (VOC) during a laser-printing process, the release of triethylamine during the drying period of a paint formulation and the determination of diffusion coefficients through building materials (plasterboard).

Furthermore, in co-operation with Ionicon, a comparison of the various commercially-available mass spectrometers (quadrupol MS, Time-of-Flight MS) was carried out. The use of the emission test chamber, which was built specially for this project, ensured uniform conditions for all the measurements. The small size of the test chamber provided the necessary mobility for on-site measurements at Ionicon in Innsbruck/Austria.