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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
28 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Preparation and analysis of zero gases for the measurement of trace VOCs in air monitoring
Jennifer Englert1, Anja Claude1, Alessia Demichelis2, Stefan Persijn3, Annarita Baldan3, Jianrong Li3, Christian Plass-Duelmer1, Katja Michl1, Erasmus Tensing1, Rina Wortmann3, Yousra Ghorafi3, Maricarmen Lecuna4, Guido Sassi4, Maria Paola Sassi2, and Dagmar Kubistin1 1Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Hohenpeissenberg, 82383, Germany
2Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM), Torino, 10135, Italy
3VSL – Dutch Metrology Institute, Delft, 2629 JA, the Netherlands
4Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), Torino, 10135, Italy
Abstract. Air quality observations are performed globally to monitor the status of the atmosphere, its level of pollution and to assess mitigation strategies. Regulations of air quality monitoring programmes in various countries demand high precision measurements for harmful substances often at low trace concentrations. These requirements can only be achieved by using high quality calibration gases including high purity zero gas. For volatile organic compound (VOC) observations, zero gas is defined being hydrocarbon free like purified air, nitrogen or helium and is essential for the characterisation of the measurement devices and procedures, for instrument operation as well as for calibrations. Two commercial and one self-built gas purifiers were tested for their removal efficiency of VOCs following a standardised procedure. The tested gas purifiers included one adsorption cartridge with an inorganic media and two types of metal catalysts. A large range of VOCs was investigated including the most abundant species typically measured at air monitoring stations. Both catalysts were able to remove a large range of VOCs whilst the tested adsorption cartridge was not suitable to remove light compounds up to C4. Memory effects occurred for the adsorption cartridge when exposed to higher concentration. This study emphasises the importance to explicitly examine a gas purifier for its intended application before applying in the field.
Citation: Englert, J., Claude, A., Demichelis, A., Persijn, S., Baldan, A., Li, J., Plass-Duelmer, C., Michl, K., Tensing, E., Wortmann, R., Ghorafi, Y., Lecuna, M., Sassi, G., Sassi, M. P., and Kubistin, D.: Preparation and analysis of zero gases for the measurement of trace VOCs in air monitoring, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Jennifer Englert et al.
Jennifer Englert et al.


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