Ultra resolution chemical fingerprinting of dense non-aqueous phase liquids from manufactured gas plants by reversed phase comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography
Ultra resolution chemical fingerprinting of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) from former manufactured gas plants (FMGPs) was investigated using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time of flight mass spectrometry (GC × GC TOFMS). Reversed phase GC × GC (i.e. a polar primary column coupled to a non-polar secondary column) was found to significantly improve the separation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their alkylated homologues. Sample extraction and cleanup was performed simultaneously using accelerated solvent extraction (ASE), with recovery rates between 76% and 97%, allowing fast, efficient extraction with minimal solvent consumption. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the GC × GC data was performed in an attempt to differentiate between twelve DNAPLs based on their chemical composition. Correlations were discovered between DNAPL composition and historic manufacturing processes used at different FMGP sites. Traditional chemical fingerprinting methods generally follow a tiered approach with sample analysis on several different instruments. We propose ultra resolution chemical fingerprinting as a fast, accurate and precise method of obtaining more chemical information than traditional tiered approaches while using only a single analytical technique.