Thickness and material selection of polymeric passive samplers for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water: Which more strongly affects sampler properties?
Three configurations of single‐phase‐polymer passive samplers made of polyoxymethylene (POM), silicone rubber (SR) and polyethylene (PE) were simultaneously calibrated in laboratory experiments by determining their partitioning coefficients and the POM diffusion coefficients and by validating a kinetic accumulation model. In addition, the performance of each device was evaluated under field conditions. With the support of the developed model, the device properties were discussed with regard to material selection and polymer thickness. The results show that a sampler's properties, such as its concentration‐averaging period and ability to sample a large amount of PAHs, are widely affected by material selection. Sampler thickness also allows modulation of the properties of the device but with a much lower magnitude. The selection of the appropriate polymer and/or thickness allows samplers to be adapted either for quick equilibration or for the kinetic accumulation regime and promotes either membrane or water boundary layer control of the kinetic accumulation. Additionally, membrane‐controlled or equilibrated compounds are quantified with greater accuracy because they are not corrected by the performance reference compounds (PRC) approach. However, the averaged concentrations cannot be assessed when compounds reach equilibrium in the sampler, whereas membrane‐controlled devices remaining in the kinetic accumulation regime provide averaged concentrations without requiring PRC correction; detection limits are then increased because of the higher mass transfer resistance of the membrane. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved