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Thermal stability of adsorbents used for gas chromatography in space exploration

Abstract : For analytical purpose, thermal desorption is now used in gas chromatographs developed to analyse the chemical composition of planetary environments. Due to technical constraints, the thermal desorption cannot be as finely controlled as in the laboratory resulting in possible thermal alteration of the adsorbents used. For these reasons, the influence of heat on physical and chemical properties of various adsorbents, either used or that could be used in gas chromatographs for space exploration, is studied. If the adsorbents made of carbon molecular sieves and graphitised carbon black that were tested show a very high thermal stability up to 800°C, the porous polymers tested are highly degraded from a minimum temperature that depends on the nature of the polymer. Poly-2,6-diphenylphenylene oxide is shown to be the more thermally robust as it is degraded at higher temperatures, confirming it is currently the best choice for analysing organic molecules with a space instrument. Finally, the products of degradation of the porous polymers tested were analysed after heating the porous polymers at 400°C and 800°C. They were identified and listed as potential contaminants of analyses performed with this type of adsorbent. If the exposure to the higher temperature produces numerous organic compounds, mainly aromatic ones, a few ones are also detected at the lower temperature tested, meaning they should be considered as potential contaminants. Again poly-2,6-diphenylphenylene oxide should be preferred because it releases less organic compounds, the structure of which is completely specific to the adsorbent composition.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 2:57:22 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 3:06:56 AM

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Leila Bouchra, Cyril Szopa, A. Buch, David Coscia. Thermal stability of adsorbents used for gas chromatography in space exploration. Journal of Chromatography A, Elsevier, 2021, 1644 (May), pp.462087. ⟨10.1016/j.chroma.2021.462087⟩. ⟨insu-03177972⟩

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