Development of a Novel Mass Spectrometric Methodology for the Analysis of Hydrocarbon Content in Light Shredder Waste

  • The lack of a routine characterization method for non-volatile hydrocarbons has been an ongoing problem preventing mass spectrometry from the analysis of these hydrocarbons within many sources. Non-polar hydrocarbons are still difficult to be detected by mass spectrometry. Although several studies targeted this problem, lack of self-ionization has been limiting the ability of mass spectrometry to examine these hydrocarbons. A novel identification method for saturated straight-chain hydrocarbons in light shredder waste fraction under atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (APCI-MS) has been developed. Ionization of alkanes under nitrogen gas source favoured hydrogen abstraction producing majorly (M-H)+ ions which are strictly corresponding to their respective series of n-alkanes between n-decane (C10) and n-tetracontane (C40). The method is shown to produce intact gas phase ions of n-alkane in both reference and real life waste samples. APCI-MS2 fragmentation data assisted in the structural verification of the n-alkanes investigated in both standard and waste mixtures. Additionally the total chemical composition of the light shredder waste fraction was translated by the same method. The mass spectrum displayed a bimodal distribution of odd and even mass ions with a molecular weight distribution range of m/z 200-900 Da. Molecular formulas for a 1000 unsaturated hydrocarbon compounds suggested a dehydrogenation process. The molecular masses were plotted on a Kendrick plot which was successfully employed for monitoring sample degradation. Another selection of high mass linear, branched and cyclic hydrocarbons, reported to be notoriously difficult to ionize, were examined during this study. Using optimized APCI conditions all of these analytes could be ionized without the use of an additional ionization aid and without fragmentation. This finding represents a promising step towards extending the applicability of mass spectrometry to complex non-polar hydrocarbon analyses.

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Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Nadim Hourani
Referee:Nikolai Kuhnert, Dieter Lompe, Helge Weingart
Advisor:Nikolai Kuhnert
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:101:1-2013052812546
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2012/04/02
Date of First Publication:2012/04/11
PhD Degree:Chemistry
School:SES School of Engineering and Science
Library of Congress Classification:Q Science / QD Chemistry / QD71-142 Analytical chemistry
Call No:Thesis 2012/3

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