The Development and Testing of a Volatile Organics Concentrator for Use in Monitoring Space Station Water Quality 921266

An approach to the isolation and concentration of volatile organic compounds from a water sample prior to chemical analysis in a microgravity environment has been previously described (Reference 1). The Volatile Organics Concentrator (VOC) system was designed to attach to a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) for analysis of volatile organic compounds in water on Space Station Freedom. The VOC utilizes a primary solid sorbent for collection and concentration of the volatile compounds, transfer of the volatiles through a permeation dryer to a secondary solid sorbent, followed by thermal desorption of volatiles from the secondary sorbent onto a GC/MS system.
Fabrications and preliminary testing of the VOC breadboard using a gas chromatography equipped with flame ionization detector has been previously described (Reference 2). These results have indicated that the VOC will meet or exceed the goals set for the program. Additionally, these results have shown that the VOC can analyze a broader suite of analytes (e.g. iodinated compounds) than those currently analyzed by EPA Method 624 (Reference 3).
This paper describes the results of testing the VOC breadboard using a GC/MS system. The VOC/GC/MS system was evaluated for recovery of volatile organic compounds from water samples. These results were compared to data for these compounds using direct injection/GC/MS and purge and trap/GC/MS procedures. In addition, minimum detection limit (MDL) data were obtained and compared to those observed for EPA Method 524.2 (Reference 4). These results indicate that the VOC/GC/MS system has comparable detection limits as EPA Method 524.2 and for many compounds reaching a factor of 5 lower.


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