Material emissions – Construction products
European 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
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 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.
- For a more comprehensive introduction to the application of thermal desorption to construction product testing, contact us to obtain a copy of our TD Applications Guide on residual volatiles and material emissions testing.
- For examples of the application of the Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor to construction products testing, see Application Notes 067, 069, 089, 090 and 103.
- For a description of the Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor, its application (with UNITY-ULTRA) to assess emissions from plastic pellets, wall coverings and polyurethane foams, and correlation with small-chamber methods, see: T. Schripp et al., A microscale device for measuring emissions from materials for indoor use, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2007, 387: 1907–1919.
- For an example of the use of the Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor to determine emissions from building products, see: M. Keller, U. Gommel and A. Verl, Test procedure to determine material specific VOC emission rates and prediction model of VOC-levels in controlled production environments, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 2012, 30: 301–306.
- For a study using Markes’ Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor and TD-100 to assess emissions from materials, see: V.M. Brown and D.R. Crump, An investigation into the performance of a multi-sorbent sampling tube for the measurement of VVOC and VOC emissions from products used indoors, Analytical Methods, 2013, 5: 2746–2756.
- For an example of Markes’ Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor being used to determine naphthalene emissions from a variety of household building materials, furnishings, and consumer products, see: D.H. Kang, D.H. Choi, D. Won, W. Yan, H. Schleibinger and J. David, Household materials as emission sources of naphthalene in Canadian homes and their contribution to indoor air, Atmospheric Environment, 2012, 50: 79–87.
A number of commercial laboratories carry out emissions testing for construction products: