Potential for Measurement of Trace Volatile Organic Compounds in Closed Environments Using Gas Chromatograph/Differential Mobility SpectrometerFor nearly 3.5 years, the Volatile Organic Analyzer (VOA) has routinely analyzed the International Space Station (ISS) atmosphere for a target list of approximately 20 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Additionally, an early prototype of the VOA collected data aboard submarines in two separate trials. Comparison of the data collected on ISS and submarines showed a surprising similarity in the atmospheres of the two environments. Furthermore, in both cases it was demonstrated that the VOA data can detect hardware issues unrelated to crew health. Finally, it was also clear in both operations that the VOA s size and resource consumption were major disadvantages that would restrict its use in the future. The VOA showed the value of measuring VOCs in closed environments, but it had to be shrunk if it was to be considered for future operations in these environments that are characterized by cramped spaces and limited resources. The Sionex Microanalyzer is a fraction of the VOA s size and this instrument seems capable of maintaining or improving upon the analytical performance of the VOA. The two design improvements that led to a smaller, less complex instrument are the Microanalyzer s use of recirculated air as the gas chromatograph s carrier gas and a micromachined detector. Although the VOA s ion mobility spectrometer and the Microanalyzer s differential mobility spectrometer (DMS) are related detector technologies, the DMS was more amenable to micromachining. This paper will present data from the initial assessment of the Microanalyzer. The instrument was challenged with mixtures that simulated the VOCs typically detected in closed-environment atmospheres.
Limero, Thomas (Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Cheng, Patti (Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)