Thermo Fisher Scientific highlighted how understanding the chemical and physical properties of materials during combustion leads to improved materials and better public safety standards in a recent webinar.
The webinar looked at how online fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) - a technique used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas - can provide multi-component analysis of toxic gases released during combustion events, and can be used as an alternative to single-component analysers or GC (gas chromatography) methods.
‘Multi-component Smoke Toxicity Analysis Webinar’ also looked at how new European railway/transportation regulations (EN 45545-2) impact testing techniques for dangerous acids such as HCl, HBr, HCN, and HF.
In 2020, EN 45545-2 was approved for railway/transportation standards.
Jay Roberts, product manager in the FTIR spectroscopy division with Thermo Fisher Scientific, delivered the webinar and said, “The development regulations for smoke toxicity and how that works with FTIR… While these standards are European, the fire science community is pretty worldwide so a lot of the test and regulations developed in Europe are relevant in the Americas and Asia. Historically, only carbon monoxide was measured as a toxic gas but as testing has grown more sophisticated we have realised there are a lot of other emissions that can be even more toxic.”
Roberts is an expert in gas-phase spectroscopy, and helps to develop dedicated analysers for a wide variety of applications, such as combustion emissions and contaminant analysis in ultra-pure specialty gases.
“A lot of these can be measured by GC techniques,” he said.
“To measure all these different gases you either have to do some chemical work up or use a lot of different sensors or analysers, or you use an FTIR spectrometer which can measure all of these gases in one sample.”
FTIR enables lithium-ion battery researchers to understand key parameters in hydrogen fluoride generation, which enables the development of safer battery technologies for electric cars.
“The ability of FTIR to monitor hydrogen fluoride off-gassing is a key application right now,” Roberts said.
“In addition to lithium-ion battery testing, there’s also an awful lot of industrial process use, especially fluoropolymers, semiconductor manufacturing and HF can also offgas from there.”
The key advantages of measuring these gases by FTIR are to eliminate multiple analysers, eliminate solvents and hazardous chemicals, lower the cost of analyser maintenance, reduce operator variability and provide clarity for unexpected results. With an FTIR you can measure all the gases at once. The broad spectrum range enables multi-gas analysis.
The flexibility of FTIR allows the user to add components or adjust sampling parametres for targeted applications.
Thermo Fisher Scientific, which has its global headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, offers the Antaris™ IGS Gas Analyzer and the Nicolet™ iS50 for FTIR gas analysis for smoke toxicity measurements.
“The Antaris™ IGS Gas Analyser is our common offering for the smoke toxicity application, the Nicolet IG50 is a modular system and is very flexible and that’s the system you use if you have unusual sampling considerations as well as laboratory solutions,” Roberts said.
“Measuring dirty gases can make people healthier, the world cleaner.”