GC/MS Applications: Manufacturing
Product quality is of paramount importance for all manufacturers. And GC/MS analysis from a materials testing lab can be an incredibly useful tool to ensure that quality.
GC/MS analysis, or gas chromatography mass spectrometry, is a materials analysis technique that’s used to identify the precise composition of a sample and to quantify its components. For manufacturers, this technique can be used to identify unknown substances or contaminants that can or have affected product quality, function or safety.
5 Uses of GC/MS in Manufacturing
1. Identifying Residual Solvents in Pharmaceuticals
Solvents are often used in the production of pharmaceutical products. Since pharmaceutical products are ingested or implanted in the body, residual solvent testing is critical to ensure that solvents are not present at health threatening levels.
A pharmaceutical company wanted to know whether ethanol was present in a powdered drug. Using static headspace and GC/MS analysis in tandem, Innovatech Labs was able to positively identify ethanol from its mass spectrum, which is shown in the figure below.
2. Identifying the Presence of Toxins & Trace Elements in Plastic Wrap
Many consumers have become concerned that plastic wraps are leaching toxins into the food they’re designed to protect. With this in mind, researchers soaked several different brands of plastic wrap in water and exposed the samples to heat. The scientists then used GC/MS analysis to analyze the water and see if it had been contaminated by the plastic wrap samples.
While all of the plastic wraps left residual compounds in the water, the chemical composition of the trace elements varied by sample. Some samples leached endocrine disruptors and phthalates—which pose potentially serious health risks—while others did not.
3. Epoxy Testing
Epoxies are important curing agents for many manufactured products, and a failing epoxy can mean a failed product. Innovatech Labs was tasked with analyzing a failing epoxy to determine whether it contained anything different from an epoxy known to work well. Using static headspace and GC/MS analysis for the epoxy outgassing, the test showed that the failing epoxy had a higher concentration of benzene.
4. Strange Tastes & Odors
Taste and smell are incredibly important to consumers, and they should be equally important to manufacturers. Foul tastes or strange odors are likely signs of a contaminant.
For example, environmental and internal factors could cause chemical changes in soft drinks that taint the flavor or smell of the beverage. Headspace and GC/MS analysis can identify the odor-causing compounds and uncover the root cause of the contamination.
5. Analysis of Vegetable Oil
The ingredients used in food products all contribute to overall taste and quality. Even small differences in the composition of ingredients can affect the food preparation process or the food itself.
A food vendor wanted to know whether a new vegetable oil was similar to the vegetable oil they had used in the past. GC/MS analysis was performed on both the previously used and new vegetable oil to look for any differences between the two. The results showed that the previously used oil contained palmitic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid, which were not found in the new vegetable oil.
For more information on GC/MS analysis services from Innovatech Labs, contact us today.