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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 6 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 3197-3203, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-3197-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Jun 2018

Research article | 04 Jun 2018

Preparation and analysis of zero gases for the measurement of trace VOCs in air monitoring

Jennifer Englert1, Anja Claude1, Alessia Demichelis2, Stefan Persijn3, Annarita Baldan3, Jianrong Li3, Christian Plass-Duelmer1, Katja Michl1, Erasmus Tensing1, Rina Wortman3, Yousra Ghorafi3, Maricarmen Lecuna4, Guido Sassi4, Maria Paola Sassi2, and Dagmar Kubistin1 Jennifer Englert et al.
  • 1Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), 82383 Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 2Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM), 10135 Torino, Italy
  • 3VSL – Dutch Metrology Institute, 2629 JA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 4Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), 10135 Torino, Italy

Abstract. Air quality observations are performed globally to monitor the status of the atmosphere and its level of pollution and to assess mitigation strategies. Regulations of air quality monitoring programmes in various countries demand high-precision measurements for harmful substances often at low trace concentrations. These requirements can only be achieved by using high-quality calibration gases including high-purity zero gas. For volatile organic compound (VOC) observations, zero gas is defined as being hydrocarbon-free and can be, for example, purified air, nitrogen or helium. It is essential for the characterisation of the measurement devices and procedures, for instrument operation as well as for calibrations. Two commercial and one self-built gas purifiers were tested for their VOC removal efficiency following a standardised procedure. The tested gas purifiers included one adsorption cartridge with an inorganic media and two types of metal catalysts. A large range of VOCs were investigated, including the most abundant species typically measured at air monitoring stations. Both catalysts were able to remove a large range of VOCs whilst the tested adsorption cartridge was not suitable to remove light compounds up to C4. Memory effects occurred for the adsorption cartridge when exposed to higher concentration. This study emphasises the importance of explicitly examining a gas purifier for its intended application before applying it in the field.

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For volatile organic compound (VOC) observations, zero gases free of VOC traces are essential for the characterisation of the measurement devices and procedures, for instrument operation as well as for calibrations. Three gas purifiers were tested for their removal efficiency of VOCs following a standardised procedure. Results show that not all purification methods removed VOCs from the zero gas and that a gas purifier needs to be tested before its intended application in the field.
For volatile organic compound (VOC) observations, zero gases free of VOC traces are essential...
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