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Stability assessment of gas mixtures containing terpenes at nominal 5 nmol/mol contained in treated aluminum gas cylinders.

  • Rhoderick, George C
Published Article
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2010
DOI: 10.1007/s00216-010-4058-0
PMID: 20694720


Studies of climate change increasingly recognize the diverse influences exerted by terpenes in the atmosphere, including roles in particulates, ozone formation, and their oxidizing potential. Measurements of key terpenes suggest atmospheric concentrations ranging from low pmol/mol (parts per trillion) to nmol/mol (parts per billion), depending on location and compound. To accurately establish concentration trends, assess the role of terpenes in atmospheric chemistry, and relate measurement records from many laboratories and researchers, it is essential to have good calibration standards. The feasibility of preparing well-characterized, stable gas cylinder standards for terpenes at the nmol/mol level is not yet well established. Several of the world's National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) are researching the feasibility of developing primary and secondary reference gas standards at the nmol/mol level for terpenes. The US NMI, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has prepared several nmol/mol mixtures, in treated aluminum gas cylinders, containing terpenes in dry nitrogen at nominal 5 nmol/mol for stability studies. Overall, 11 terpenes were studied for stability. An initial gas mixture containing nine terpenes, one oxygenate, and six aromatic compounds, including benzene as an internal standard, was prepared. Results for four of the nine terpenes in this initial mixture indicate stability in these treated aluminum gas cylinders for over 6 months and project long term (years) stability. Interesting results were seen for beta-pinene, which when using a linear equation rate decline predicts that it will reach a zero concentration level at day 416. At the same time, increases in alpha-pinene, D: -limonene (R-(+)-limonene), and p-cymene were observed, including camphene, a terpene not prepared in the gas mixture, indicating a chemical transformation of beta-pinene to these species. Additional mixtures containing combination of either alpha-pinene, camphor, alpha-terpinene, and benzene indicate a second-order quadratic rate decline for the alpha-pinene and alpha-terpinene, a linear rate decline for camphor, and a second-order quadratic rate increase of camphene.


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