Combustion IC System

Fully automated analysis of halogens and sulfur

Combustion ion chromatography (IC) measures total halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine) and sulfur in difficult to analyze solid, gas, and liquid samples. Determination of these analytes is essential because they are:

  • Corrosive, which can damage industrial equipment, poison catalysts, and damage sensitive electronic components
  • Considered hazardous substances
  • A cause of environmental pollution
  • Regulated in many countries

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Combustion ion chromatography system

Analyzing halogens and sulfur in petrochemicals, gaseous samples, solid samples, and complex chemicals is very difficult by conventional ion chromatography (IC). Sample preparation is often required to extract analytes or remove interfering matrices, and these techniques are costly and labor intensive. Automated combustion IC reduces the time and labor for determination of corrosive halogens and sulfur in difficult samples by eliminating complex sample preparation steps.

The Thermo Scientific Combustion Ion Chromatography system, developed in collaboration by Mitsubishi (Japan) and Thermo Fisher Scientific (USA), performs automated qualitative and quantitative analysis of halogens and sulfur. This automated method is highly sensitive, easy-to-use, saves time and produces fewer environmental contaminants than other sample preparation procedures such as acid digestions or back extractions from organic solutions.

Major applications for combustion IC

Combustion IC provides accurate and reproducible results for samples that include pharmaceutical raw materials and finished products, polymers, wood, petrochemicals, ores, inks, metals, polishing agents, lubricating oil, and electronic components, often in less than 12 minutes with minimal method development.

Example combustion IC analyses

  • S, Cl, F, and Br in plastics
  • Cl, F, Br in pharmaceutical raw materials and finished ingredients
  • Cl in epoxy resins
  • S, Cl, and Br in industrial lumber plates
  • Br in disposable (one-time use) polymers
  • Cl in lubricating oil
  • F, Br, and I in soil samples
  • F in ores
  • Cl and F in aluminum powder
  • F in polishing agents

How does combustion IC work?

How does combustion IC work?

Introduce sample
Solid or semisolid samples are introduced into the AQF-2100H using the ASC-240S Automatic Boat Controller.

Perform pyrolysis
This step occurs at 800–1100˚C; samples are oxidized by O2 at high temperature.

Trap volatiles
Volatile products from pyrolysis are trapped in an aqueous absorbing solution Phosphate can be added to the absorbing solution as an internal standard to calibrate the analytical results.

Perform ion analysis
Samples in the absorbing solution are transferred to the IC system to determine concentrations of individual halides and sulfur species (e.g., sulfite, sulfate, and thiosulfate). Total sulfate can be determined by further oxidizing the sulfur species using hydrogen peroxide.

Regulations requiring halogen and sulfur determination

The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances  (RoHS) compliance requires the elimination of brominated flame retardant compounds  (BFRs) which were formerly widely used in polymer formulations, such as those used in printed circuit boards. The lack of bromide in a sample indicates that the material is in compliance with the RoHS prohibition of BFRs.

Featured video

In this educational webinar, Kirk Chassinol and Dr. Susan Richardson discuss the application of combustion ion chromatography to the detection of disinfection byproducts in pools and spas.