Design of Instrumentation for the Analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds in Field Research

Rishi Basdeo and Michael Hampton Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816

The determination of the identities and concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is useful in applications ranging from agricultural crop viability to air quality to human health. However, traditional methods of determining the concentration and makeup of VOCs in field research are often time-consuming, unwieldy, and cost-prohibitive. This study involves the development and characterization of a portable instrument that allows for the measurement and recording of the concentration of carbon dioxide and VOCs using open-sourced technology, with the goal of implementing it further into a mini gas chromatograph (GC). This combination allows the former to act as an “active listener” for the latter, triggering the GC to begin analysis once VOC levels reach a desirable threshold for further insight into the makeup of emitted VOCs. This will increase the battery life of the device and will avoid the recording of unnecessary data. By using clean air as the mobile phase of the GC (the element that forces samples through the apparatus for separation) instead of a purified inert gas as done by traditional instruments, the need to "recharge" the unit’s gas reserves is eliminated, reducing the amount of researcher intervention required between uses.

Once fully characterized, this device allows for rapid, real-time, onsite analysis of samples, which is especially important in studies where data are transient or subjects are rare. Preliminary data show that the device is sensitive in the range of parts per million, and predicts successful design of the subsequent GC. The design and characteristics of initial prototypes are presented here.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Rishi Basdeo

Institution: University of Central Florida

Type: Poster

Subject: Chemistry

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 4
Date/Time: Tue 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Number: 3573