Analytical chemistry deals with the uses and methods pertaining to separation, identification, and quantifying matter. Gas chromatography (GC) or Gas-liquid chromatography, as it is otherwise known as, is a method used in analytical chemistry.
It is used for separating and analyzing components. In layman terms, it separates the components of a mixture thereby opening avenues for testing of its individual constituents.
The applications of Gas-liquid Chromatography are many. The high-speed analysis in a matter of minutes and its efficacy makes it a preferred medium for testing.
QUALITY CONTROL IN AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY
GC is mainly used for quality control in the automotive industry. The testing of mineral oil from a malfunctioning motorbike to a quality test of a car tire can be done using GC.
Failure cases can be prevented by identifying the composition of plastic in failed engineering components. The results of these tests prove beneficial in taking remedial action and making improvements.
GC is heavily relied on to identify the chemicals in drugs in the pharmaceutical field. Research and development, quality control, and production are some of the other areas where GC can help.
It can test the purity of reagents and identify illicit or illegal drugs. Several congenital and metabolic diseases like cholesterol and diabetes can be identified using screening tests that incorporate GC.
It detects the levels of compounds in the patient's urine, which can then be sent for a detailed analysis.
GC is used in cosmetics to test for allergens. Perfumes for instance contain innumerable substances to impart different fragrances. It is possible to test it for allergens using Gas Chromatography.
The allergy may be triggered by skin contact, inhalation, or application. Listing the ingredients helps the consumer to identify possible allergens. It can identify the presence of oils in creams, lotions, and ointments.
One of the emerging applications of GC that has wide scope in the coming years is food safety. Using Gas Chromatography, the level of pesticides in food substances can be detected. The components such as fatty acids, aldehydes, alcohol, and more can be analyzed with ease using GC.
It is employed in aquaculture (fish rearing) to test the products for pesticides. The fish can be analyzed, to ensure that the MRL (Maximum Residue Level) does not exceed the recommended level. The amount of its concentration too can be determined. The permissible levels are usually recommended by government agencies.
Drug and toxicology analysis was one of the earliest uses of Gas Chromatography. From ‘street drugs’ to the new-fangled ones, anything can be analyzed to trace its constituent parts. It has immensely helped in crime prevention and prosecution.
It helps analyze blood and other body fluids for alcohol and drug levels. Urine samples tested using GC can show the amount of concentration of these substances. If they exceed the prescribed limits GC can provide proof of it.
Drunk driving costs numerous lives each year. It is illegal in most countries. Law enforcement officers use Breathalysers to test drivers. These cases using GC for quantitative and concentration analysis is widespread.
ANALYSIS OF POLLUTION LEVELS
It is used in determining the levels of pollutants in air and water resources. Air samples can be collected in sample bags or containers and tested using GC. There are a number of particulate and gaseous emissions in many industries like petrochemical, manufacturing, power generation, etc.
International accords like the Montreal protocol or the Kyoto accords call for strict adherence to international pollution control guidelines. It relies on industries to reduce their discharge and test them before discharging them into the environment.
Unknown components in hazardous areas are usually tested using GC to determine their nature. Industrial outputs and products are tested for quality using this process. Indoor pollution can be analyzed using air monitoring.
The components of atmospheric pollution that can be identified and analyzed are:
· Carbon monoxide- from industrial processes, caused by incomplete combustion of wood, oil, and other fuels.
· Carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide- from gas, oil, and coal
· Hydrogen sulfide- which is produced through sewage sludge, liquid manure, and sulfide hot springs and is formed naturally by decaying organic waste. "It's also a by-product of industrial processes like natural gas processing, petroleum refining, and petrochemical plants.
Contamination of soil and water can be triggered by various causes like acid rain, pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents. Knowing the amount of each compound helps in ascertaining which compound is detrimental to human health.
Gas Chromatography has become an essential process over the years to ensure safety, quality, and standards. From being used in cancer studies to identifying the accelerants in arson, the applications of GC has aided the developments over a wide range of subject matters.