The Analysis of BTEX and MTBE Using Specially Modified Purge Traps

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The existence of underground storage tanks containing gasoline and other petroleum products has facilitated the need for routine testing to determine if there has been any leakage into surrounding soil and ground water. The analytical methods test for “BTEX”, which is an acronym for benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene. In many instances, testing is not limited to these compounds, and includes the octane booster MTBE. In the 1980’s Supelco developed the BTEXTRAP® (also called the “J” trap.) This trap was developed specifically for the analysis of BTEX, and designed to retain these compounds while minimizing the retention of methanol. The addition of compounds such as MTBE to many state testing requirements has prompted the development of new versions of this trap. In this work, we have compared the performance of the standard BTEX or J trap to two new versions which have been designed to retain MTBE while still minimizing the retention of methanol.

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