The determination of PBB and PBDE using FTIR and GC/MS
This simple and non-destructive method quickly leads to useful results. Compound
identification is possible as the flame retardants were present up to now in polymers
in concentrations of higher than 5 %. This level is still detectable in polymer
mixtures using FTIR. However, concentrations approaching the detection limit must
be measured using other analytical methods. In this case GC/MS is highly suitable
as all brominated compounds can be separated and detected down to the trace level.
GC/MS, on the other hand, is more time consuming with respect to sample preparation
and data analysis. In general, it is recommended to carry out an overall pre-screening
via energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDX). Using this analytical method the
total concentration of elemental bromine in the sample is detected, although it
is not possible to distinguish which compound actually contains bromine. When more
than 5 % of total bromine is detected, FTIR can be used for further identification
of bromine compounds. When less than 5 % bromine is detected, GC/MS analysis can
be implemented for separation and identification.
This system consisting of GCMS-QP2010 and the pyrolyzer Py-2020iD is an ideal configuration
for a high sensitivity determination of flame retardants according to RoHS.