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Laboratory Services>Chemical Analysis>Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy>Pyrolysis GC-MS

Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectroscopy


What is Pyrolysis GC-MS?

Pyrolysis refers to the process that the sample undergoes before it is analyzed.  When a sample is "pyrolyzed," it is brought from room temperature to anywhere between 100°C and 1100°C in a furnace filled with helium.  If the furnace were filled with air, the oxygen could react with the sample and combust.  After this step, the volatiles (by-products of the pyrolysis products) are passed into the GC-MS for separation and analysis.


Polymers can be identified by the products they break down into.  This is especially useful for polymer blends and copolymers that are difficult to analyze with other methods.  One of the most important advantages of Py-GC-MS is the analysis of additives in the polymer matrix.  Typically, gravimetric soxhlet extraction or polymer dissolution is needed to remove additives (which we often do) followed by traditional liquid injection (LC-GC-MS).  Py-GC-MS makes this a much quicker and easier way to characterize stabilizers and other additives.  Pyrolysis GC-MS is also useful for determining what compounds will volatilize into the atmosphere.  The presence of toxic gases such as phosphine and sulfur dioxide can be determined.


FAI uses a CDS 2500 Pyrolysis Autosampler which can robotically introduce up to 32 samples into an inert gas (helium) purged furnace capable of ramping temperature up to 1,100°C in milliseconds.  The pyrolysis products are swept directly into an HP/Agilent 5890 Series II Plus Gas Chromatograph with an HP 5989B Mass Engine Mass Spectrometer.  This mass spectrometer can collect positive or negative ions, run either electron impact or chemical ionization, and can scan up to 1000 Daltons molecular weight or perform Selected Ion Monitoring (SIM) analysis.


Py-GC-MS samples are usually just a few milligrams in mass but we ask for at least 1/2 of a gram.  Examples of products analyzed by Pyrolysis GC-MS:

  • Paint
  • Coatings
  • Polymeric materials
  • Environmental Samples

FAI processes and interprets sample spectrums. We provide you with a detailed report which includes chemical composition and quantization of the sample.

Related Services:

Dynamic Headspace Concentration (DHC-GC-MS)

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

Call us at 770-928-1930 or contact us to see how we can help you today.