Free and Trap Water Analysis: A summary

Purge and trap water analysis is a method of lab testing that uses specific systems to facilitate the particular chromatographic testing of liquid samples. The mechanism of the auto sampler distinguishes the process from other types of chromatographic testing, such as static head space testing and dynamic head area testing. Unlike these processes, the purge and trap method performs exceptionally well at isolating compounds that are existing at low parts per billion dollars (PPB) levels. This makes it well suited for testing substances for trace levels of artificial chemicals and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are naturally occurring, carbon-based compounds that vaporize at room temperature.

Purging the Test

The purge and trap mechanism withdraws compounds from the sample using a simple, yet effective five-step process:

The sample is placed in the inlet to the chromatograph
Inert gas is usually bubbled through the sample to separate the compounds
The compounds are included on the column in the concentrator
The concentrator is heated and the compounds vaporize
The compounds enter the column of the chromatograph via inert fuel.
Purge and trap water analysis is well known for its role in finding artificial chemicals and dangerous VOCs in industrial wastewater, reservoirs, lakes and rivers. These water sources are a particular concern because a sudden influx associated with hazardous substances could jeopardize the health of an entire city, river valley, or coastline. One of the areas where using this type of strategy is less well known involves beverage evaluation.

Food grade beverages seldom consist of dangerous levels of artificial chemicals, however they are a surprising source of VOCs. In drinking water, VOCs may result from air pollution, the improper filtration of natural matter from the liquid, or a good unforeseen result of the filtration procedure. In flavored beverages, the source much more urbane: natural ingredients such as fruits and vegetables. Think about the number of VOCs that the following flavor foods contain:

Orange – 203
Banana – 225
Mango — 273
Apple – 356
Grape – 466
Coffee – 790
Not all VOCs are considered harmful. Of these that are harmful, the EPA classifies as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), and regulates their emission countrywide. Without its unique bouquet associated with VOCs, wine would not taste or smell like wine as one understands it now. The same is true of espresso, black tea, and other beverages.
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Having said that, the burden is on beverage businesses to ensure that beverages are free of a good overabundance of certain VOCs, , nor contain a trace amount of toxicity. Free and trap autosamplers that facilitate water testing play a crucial function in ensuring beverages meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, plus drinking water meets the standards from the Safe Drinking Water Act.


Free and trap water analysis tests liquid samples for the presence of various substances, from minerals to dangerous chemicals. These systems are commonly utilized in the form of autosamplers – gadgets that automatically place test examples in the column inlet of a chromatograph. For help in selecting the best equipment for your testing needs, contact a provider of new and used laboratory devices today.

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