Evolved gas analysis

Evolved gas analysis (EGA) is a quantitative analysis method for monitoring the gases that are formed when a sample undergoes thermal decomposition. EGA provides important information about the stability of different materials, such as polymers, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals, upon exposure to heat.

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What is EGA used for?

EGA is used to identify the gases a material releases when it is heated, along with the temperatures at which decomposition occurs. The method has applications in the development of new materials, including semiconductors, catalysts, and polymers. It can, for example, be used to determine the extent to which harmful compounds, such as phthalates or bisphenols, are released from plastics upon heating.

Evolved gas analysis can also be used in pharmaceutical industry product development to assess the effects of temperature changes on the stability of new drugs. Similarly, in the fuel industry, EGA can help determine the conditions where fuel quality starts to degrade and the gases that are released when this happens. In environmental analysis, EGA can be used to detect contaminants in soil in trace quantities.

EGA can be performed on a variety of solid and liquid sample types, and a relatively small quantity of the sample material is required (usually ≤ 1g).

How does evolved gas analysis work?

Evolved gas analysis begins by heating the sample to the point where it starts to undergo thermal decomposition. This is done thermogravimetrically, which means that the sample is gradually heated while the changes in its mass are monitored.

As gases are released by the sample, they are collected and moved to a coupled analyzer, such as FTIR or MS, which will provide information about the chemical nature of the gases. The information regarding temperature, change in mass, and detection of gases can then be compiled to create an accurate profile of the changes the material undergoes upon heating.

EGA techniques: TGA-FTIR, TGA-MS & TGA-GC-MS

The main types of analyzers that can be connected to a TGA instrument to perform EGA are the Fourier transform infrared spectroscope (FTIR), the mass spectrometer (MS), and the gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS). 

TGA-FTIR can be used to identify evolved gases by comparison to spectral libraries of IR-active compounds. It is well-suited for identifying gases originating from polymeric materials but cannot detect noble or diatomic gases.

TGA-MS offers higher sensitivity and can identify trace amounts of contaminants released by materials including pharmaceuticals and soil. It can also be used to analyze metallic compounds that FTIR cannot capture due to them not absorbing infrared light. Using a TGA-GC-MS setup further improves the separation and therefore identification of volatile and semi-volatile components in complex organic matrices.

Suitable sample matrices

  • Polymers
  • Powders
  • Nanomaterials
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Environmental samples

Ideal uses of evolved gas analysis

  • Monitoring thermal decomposition of materials
  • Identifying the gases that are released
  • Quality control in materials science, fuel, food, and pharmaceutical industries
  • Detection of environmental pollutants

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Frequently asked questions

What is EGA commonly used for?

EGA is commonly used to assess the thermal stability of industrial materials, pharmaceuticals, and polymers. It provides detailed information about the temperatures at which thermal decomposition occurs and the composition of the decomposition products.

What are the advantages of EGA?

Compared to TGA on its own, EGA provides more complete information on the compounds released during thermal decomposition. With different setups, a wide range of decomposition products can be identified with high sensitivity.

What is Measurlabs?

Measurlabs offers a variety of laboratory analyses for product developers and quality managers. We perform some of the analyses in our own lab, but mostly we outsource them to carefully selected partner laboratories. This way we can send each sample to the lab that is best suited for the purpose, and offer high-quality analyses with more than a thousand different methods to our clients.

How does the service work?

When you contact us through our contact form or by email, one of our specialists will take ownership of your case and answer your query. You get an offer with all the necessary details about the analysis, and can send your samples to the indicated address. We will then take care of sending your samples to the correct laboratories and write a clear report on the results for you.

How do I send my samples?

Samples are usually delivered to our laboratory via courier. Contact us for further details before sending samples.