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Material emissions – Construction products

Construction productsEuropean CPR, REACH & US building regulations 

Increased awareness of the potential health risks associated with poor indoor air quality has resulted in consumer-driven initiatives focused on the development of lower-emitting ‘green’ products. This in turn has amplified the call for improved assessment and labelling of products used indoors, specifically construction materials.

Regulations, such as the European Construction Products Regulation (CPR) and REACH, the so-called ‘Chinese REACH’, and US building regulations, require that manufacturers understand and measure emissions of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) from their products, and comply with national limits. Those affected include manufacturers of building materials, adhesives and sealants, coatings, flooring, wall coverings, furniture, polymers and plastics.

Regulations such as those mentioned above use a variety of standard methods to assess emissions, including:

What Markes can offer

Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor

Microchamber technology was pioneered by Markes to address the need of industry for a fast emissions screening method that can be correlated with reference tests.

To collect vapours using Markes’ Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor, the sample is placed in one of the compact chambers, which is held at a specified temperature as a flow of air or gas is applied. Analytes are collected onto a sorbent-packed thermal desorption (TD) tube, which is then analysed by TD–GC–MS.

The Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor is suitable for surface-only or bulk emissions testing, and can be operated at elevated temperatures (up to 250°C) to allow analysis of heavier SVOCs. Data can be produced within 30–40 minutes of sample preparation, making it an ideal tool for rapid emissions screening.

In addition, because it works on the same principle as small chambers, results from the Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor can be correlated with reference tests, allowing manufacturers to reliably predict whether a product will pass or fail the certification.

The Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor is now recognised by its citation in two standard methods:

Thermal desorption

Thermal desorption is now routinely used as a GC preconcentration technique for monitoring VOCs and SVOCs in products and materials. A particular advantage is the wide range of analytes that can be reliably collected – quantitative analysis of compounds in the range C2 to C44, including thermally labile analytes, is now considered routine.

Thermal desorption also lends itself to easy automation (for example using Markes’ TD100-xr), allowing samples to be batch-processed overnight. This is especially important in emissions screening scenarios, where sample throughput may be high.

Automation also helps when running blanks to certify system performance, or when analysing duplicate samples (e.g. for constructing the calibration curves needed to correlate the results of emissions screening to those of certification tests).

Material emissions check-standard

Carrying out rapid emissions screening is both versatile and reliable, but as with any analytical method, standard samples are valuable to check instrument performance. Markes supplies a nine-component material emissions check-standard, specifically designed as a diagnostic tool for analysts using TD to test chemical emissions from products and materials.

Further information

A number of commercial laboratories carry out emissions testing for construction products:

Markes International Ltd
Gwaun Elai Medi-Science Campus
Tel: +44 (0)1443 230935
Markes International GmbH
Bieberer Straße 1-7
63065 Offenbach am Main
Tel: +49 (0)69 6681089-10
USA (West)
Markes International, Inc.
2355 Gold Meadow Way
Gold River, Sacramento
California 95670
Tel: +1 866-483-5684 (toll-free)
Markes Instruments (Shanghai) Co., Ltd
Unit 1002, Building 1
No.418, Guilin Road
Shanghai 200233
P.R. China
Tel: +86 21 5465 1216
Part of Schauenburg International

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