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In this study, comprehensive 2D gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with electron impact and chemical ionization was used to characterize silylated fatty alcohol alkoxylates.
Fatty acid alkoxylates used as non-ionic surfactants in home and industrial cleaning are synthesized by a reaction of fatty alcohols with alkoxides. Analysing these copolymers is, however, a challenging task. They can be characterized by their degree of alkoxylation, the arrangement of building blocks, the type of starter used and the endcapping. Difficulties arise from the fact that they are often present in complex matrices, from the high polydispersity and from the presence of a large number of constitutional isomers depending on the degree of alkoxylation.
In this study, comprehensive 2D gas chromatography–mass spectrometry [GC×GC(qMS)] with electron impact and chemical ionization was used to characterize silylated fatty alcohol alkoxylates in the low-molecular weight range up to 700 Da. The method applied successfully characterizes alkoxylates even in a complex matrix (such as detergents) by combining the results of electron impact and chemical ionization measurements.