Pyrolysis GC/MS

Current Methods

ASTM D3452-06 Standard Practice for: Rubber Identification by Pyrolysis- Gas Chromatography

Pyrolysis is a thermal decomposition process of organic material at elevated temperatures in an anaerobic environment. It involves the cleavage of large complex molecules into smaller, more analytically useful fragments by the thermal energy.


As an analogy, a Mass Spectrometer shatters compounds using electron impact, the compound is fragmented in a reproducible way, the ions are separated by the MS and the result is a spectrum which is both qualitative and quantitative. Pyrolysis works in much the same way. By applying heat to a sample that is comparable to the energy of specific bonds, the molecule will fragment in a reproducible way. The fragments are then separated by the analytical column to produce the chromatogram (pyrogram) which contains both qualitative and quantitative information. The number of peaks, the resolution by capillary GC, and the relative intensities of the peaks permit discrimination among many similar formulations, making pyrolysis a powerful tool in the identification of unknown samples. The CDS 5200 Pyroprobe enables users to study high temperature reactivity of materials and compounds in a micro-scale environment, with the convenience of results sent directly to their GC/MS.


This is an incredibly useful technique for identifying additives in commercial products, detecting low concentration contaminants, or investigating the degradation of materials under different gas environments. If you are interested in using this technique to analyze your samples then please request a quote today!