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Techniques & Tools Data Analysis, Gas Chromatography

Faster (GC) Tactics

Reducing analysis time is a constant priority. And it’s sensible because it cuts costs per analysis and you get faster results. Here, I’d like to share some clever ways to reduce gas chromatography (GC) analysis time using existing instrumentation in two real-world situations.

Chromatogram peaks are well separated – we can shorten time of analysis by trading some efficiency through following these steps.

i) Use the column flow for higher velocity separations. Surprisingly, not many people use this powerful option, and yet you can use it immediately because all GC systems are equipped with electronic flow/pressure/gas-velocity controls. By separating at a higher gas velocity, it is possible to reduce the analysis time by a factor of 2–5. The system is not optimal with respect to plates, but because we have sufficient resolution, we can trade plates for time (see Figure 1). The additional advantage is that the fastest eluting peaks will be higher than the rest. If you do not want to change the injection conditions that you were/are already using, you can program the higher velocity injection to start after the first injection is complete.

It is very important that when linear velocity or column dimensions are changed, you also adjust the oven temperature to make sure that the components elute at the same temperature; if the elution temperatures are the same, the exact same chromatogram is obtained. To calculate the oven temperature program, you can utilize free software available as a web- or Windows application (1).

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About the Author

Jaap de Zeeuw

Jaap de Zeeuw’s thesis was entitled “Fused Silica Capillary Column Technology” – the beginning of 34 years in GC capillary technology. Jaap has developed many PLOT and bonded-phase columns, and is also the originator of simple concepts for fast GC-MS using high vacuum inside capillary columns. “I’ve traveled widely and I am well known...” not only for his technical knowledge and teaching skills; Jaap has published more than 100 articles on GC column technology and applications.

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