22 May, 2024

CTS Expands Technical Capability with Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography for Petroleum Hydrocarbon Analysis

CTS is working with clients step by step to meet the continual demand for higher-quality analytical data to support environmental site investigations and other similar applications. The latest significant step forward was achieved in May this year with the introduction of our new two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) technology.  

Before introducing our GCxGC instrumentation, CTS was restricted (as with most other environmental labs) to utilising the traditional solid phase extraction technique (SPE). The solid phase extraction process involves using special cartridges to split a solvent extract into two separate test portions, the first containing the aliphatic components and the second containing the aromatic components. Each of the two test portions is then analysed individually by gas chromatography with flame ionisation detection (GC-FID). 

Two potential issues arise when using the SPE/GC-FID method.  The first is breakthrough, where aliphatic and aromatic compounds elute into the wrong sample portion, leading to a poor-quality data set and necessitating re-testing. This, in turn, impacts the overall turnaround time of the results. The second issue is column bleed, which occurs when the stationary phase (coating) of the capillary column inside the GC-FID instrument breaks down, significantly affecting the quality of the analysis. 

However, with the introduction of the GCxGC method, we can now retire the solid phase extraction/GC-FID methodology. Instead, our clients now benefit from the specialised hardware and software for significantly enhanced separation power using two-dimensional technology, which is easily able to resolve complex mixtures more effectively and provide improved characterisation of the aliphatic and aromatic compounds as well as removing any possibility of column bleed affecting the results. 

Shows the Banding Standard of n-Alkanes and PAHs

The picture above shows the Banding Standard of n-Alkanes and PAHs.

Shows the Calibration Standard of Diesel and Motor Oil Fuel Mixes.

The picture above shows the Calibration Standard of Diesel and Motor oil Fuel mixes.

To learn more about our GCxGC technology and our comprehensive range of MCERTS and UKAS-accredited services, please get in touch with us.