Authors: Abdulrhman M. Dhabbah, A. Yacine Badjah-Hadj-Ahmed, Anna A. Stec,
T. Richard Hull
Huge amounts of various polymers are being used in many fields with numerous benefits. However, their great ability to ignition and rapid flame spreading make these materials dangerous for human life and properties due to the release of highly toxic combustion products. The present work aims to investigate several methods of sampling and identification of aromatic hydrocarbons produced by controlled burning of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) using a toxicity tube furnace. Five different sampling methods were used: solid phase micro extraction (SPME), syringe, tedlar bags, sorption tubes, and gas-solution absorbers (midget impingers). The produced hydrocarbons were analysed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry with and without pyrolysis. Among the tested techniques, the most convenient sampling method was using syringe with a glass vessel which allowed detection of the highest amount of aromatic hydrocarbons at both 800°C and 600°C, and then followed by SPME. On the other hand, the use of gas-solution absorber (midget impinger) showed poorer results. Regarding the use of tedlar bags and sorption tubes, they did not give satisfactory results. Several carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic compounds were identified in the combustion products, such as benzene, naphthalene, anthracene and pyrene.
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