The emission of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs, respectively) from non-metallic materials used in vehicle interiors is usually characterized in accordance with the VDA 278 method. This method, proposed by the German Automobile Association, suggests the use of Thermal Desorption followed by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis.
The aim of this work is the evaluation of organic emissions according to the VDA 278 method in which the VOC value (up to C20) based on toluene, and the Fog value (C16 to C32) based on condensable substances such as hexadecane are determined. The analytical performance of a thermal desorber combined to a GC/time of flight MS (GC/TOF-MS) system has been investigated. At first, the solid sample is placed directly into an empty tube, this tube is heated and the volatile and semi-volatile compounds are then desorbed by a flow of inert gas and transferred to a narrow-bore packed trap filled with one or more sorbent materials, and kept at low temperature. Once the refocusing step is completed, the trap is heated instantaneously providing a rapid analyte transfer directly into the GC/TOF-MS system. Data will be reported including chromatographic parameters for VOC and FOG analysis, qualitative determinations, and semiquantitative evaluations. In addition, alternative approaches to thermal desorption will be provided.