Recent advances in materials emission testing chamber technology
Emissions of (semi-)volatile organic compounds ((S)VOCs) from materials can adversely impact indoor and in-vehicle air quality. National and international regulations/protocols, such as the European Construction Products Directive, German protocol for fire-resistant floorings (AgBB) and the Californian CHPS protocol for public school building programs (CHPS) require the determination of materials emissions using conventional test equipment such as chambers/cells (Methods EN13419-1/-2/-3, ISO/EN 16000-6/-9/-10/-11, ASTM D5116-97, ASTM D 7143-05 etc). This enables emissions to be evaluated under simulated real-use conditions and allows real-room concentrations to be estimated. Risk of toxic emissions can also be reduced by ensuring that the (S-)VOC content of a material is kept inherently low. Direct thermal desorption / extraction (TD) may be used to measure (S-)VOCs in a wide range of solid, resinous and liquid materials and eliminates complex liquid extraction steps. This process of thermally extracting the (S)VOCs is a technique that has been used over a number of years for analysis of a range of material types. It is already used by the German automotive industry for testing car trim components (MethodVDA278, 2001). The recent development of a combined Micro-Chamber / Thermal Extraction system, comprising of six micro-chambers (up to 25 mm deep and ~50 mm in diameter), which allows surface or bulk emissions testing on up to 6 samples simultaneously will be presented along with excellent correlation data with convertional emission chamber testing.