Vehicle Air Quality

Motor Vehicles

VOC testing of motor vehiclesVOC testing of motor vehicles

SGS M-Scan’s Thermal Desorption GC-MS (TD GC-MS) techniques have been widely used by the automobile industry for the analysis of Vehicle Indoor Air Quality (VIAQ). Vehicle manufacturers have commissioned us to determine the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in air samples taken from the cabin of their new vehicles. These tests are usually performed using the vehicle manufacturers own methods.

VOCs are emitted from polymeric materials used in the manufacture of vehicle components including facia and seats. Component manufacturers have also submitted their products to SGS M-Scan for compliance testing to the vehicle manufacturer’s standards. Typically the compounds of interest include toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, styrene, dichlorobenzene and phthalates which are collected on thermal desorption tubes for analysis at SGS M-Scan by Thermal Desorption GC/MS (TD GC/MS). A requirement also exists however for the analysis of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde which are not amenable to TD GC-MS. These compounds are collected on DNPH tubes and analysed by a Liquid Chromatography based technique.

Aircraft Cabin Air

Longer flight durations and an increased awareness amongst airlines and passengers alike has created stricter requirements for the control of volatile organic compounds in aircraft cabin air. Air entering the cabin can carry VOCs from the engines and compressor systems which may be noticed as malodours or build up without being noticed by the passengers or crew. Thermal Desorption GC-MS (TD GC-MS) has been used for the analysis of aircraft cabin air.

Marine Cargo Contamination

Cargo contamination can occur due to mixing of the current cargo with residues of a previous one or by flue gases, bunker or hydraulic oil vapour contamination. Fruit, vegetables and other food products are particularly susceptible to contamination by oil vapours and flue gases which leave them with unpleasant odours and taints. The source of the contamination can be discovered by placing a sample of the contaminated food in a nylon bag for several hours to allow the headspace of the bag to fill with volatiles then sampling the headspace onto thermal desorption tubes for analysis by TD GC-MS. SGS M-Scan has worked with Loss Adjusters, ships charterers and owners representatives to discover the source of cargo contamination. Acting as an independent testing laboratory, SGS M-Scan also offers Witness Analysis Programmes where all parties in a contaminated cargo dispute can be present to see us analyse samples from the vessel.