Atmospheric environment

In-vehicle VOCs composition of unconditioned, newly produced cars

Krzysztof Brodzik , Joanna Faber , Damian Łomankiewicz , Anna Gołda-Kopek


Received April 30, 2013,Revised September 18, 2013, Accepted , Available online April 01, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 1052-1061

The in-vehicle volatile organic compounds (VOCs) concentrations gains the attention of both car producers and users. In the present study, an attempt was made to determine if analysis of air samples collected from an unconditioned car cabin can be used as a quality control measure. The VOCs composition of in-vehicle air was analyzed by means of active sampling on Carbograph 1TD and Tenax TA sorbents, followed by thermal desorption and simultaneous analysis on flame ionization and mass detector (TD-GC/FID-MS). Nine newly produced cars of the same brand and model were chosen for this study. Within these, four of the vehicles were equipped with identical interior materials and five others differed in terms of upholstery and the presence of a sunroof; one car was convertible. The sampling event took place outside of the car assembly plant and the cars tested left the assembly line no later than 24 hr before the sampling took place. More than 250 compounds were present in the samples collected; the identification of more than 160 was confirmed by comparative mass spectra analysis and 80 were confirmed by both comparison with single/multiple compounds standards and mass spectra analysis. In general, aliphatic hydrocarbons represented more than 60% of the total VOCs (TVOC) determined. Depending on the vehicle, the concentration of aromatic hydrocarbons varied from 12% to 27% of total VOCs. The very short period between car production and sampling of the in-vehicle air permits the assumption that the entire TVOC originates from off-gassing of interior materials. The results of this study expand the knowledge of in-vehicle pollution by presenting information about car cabin air quality immediately after car production.

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