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On October 11, Dan Wispinski, the standard methods development manager for VUV Analytics, held a lecture at the Gulf Coast Convention in Galveston, Texas titled “Application of GCVUV Techniques to Petroleum Specifications and Regulations.” The presentation focused on the adoption of gas chromatography–vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy (GC-VUV) technology and best practices using the five standard GC-VUV methods: ASTM D8071, ASTM D8267, ASTM D8368, prEN 18015, and ASTM d8369.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets absolute fuel parameters and method-defined fuel parameters. The five methods he presented work with different types of fuels, and new methods are being developed all the time. These methods are well-established gas chromatography techniques that are applicable to contaminants and harmful chemicals.
The spectral peak area of an analyte depends on multiple factors, including the cross-section (ability of a molecule to absorb a photon), flow cell geometry (length and volume), and the total flow rate through the flow cell (residence time). Scientists must determine the amount of analyte present in the solution. When setting up their systems, Wispinski’s team adjusts makeup gas pressures and acquires chromatograms using the company’s VUV-RT and VUV1 machines.
In addition to a baseline check for column stability and indirectly measuring carrier and makeup gas purity, the systems must be held to one or more gravimetric standards. This involves a retention index file that narrows library searches down and speeds up processing times, exposing GC faults, including class-type compounds specific to the method, and response-standard compounds, which have the same make-up gas tuning responses across different GC manufacturers. Scientists must also check their standard samples, which should have known consensus values, thus assisting with regulatory compliance and quality control.