Volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitting products are found everywhere in daily life. Especially indoors VOC are ubiquitous since they are emitted e. g. from building materials and furniture. With high indoor VOC concentrations health issues like watery eyes, inflamed mucous membranes or itchy skin can occur and are summarized as the “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS) phenomenon. A healthy indoor environment can be achieved by controlling the sources and by eliminating or limiting the release of pollutants into the air. One way is to use (building) materials proven to be low emitting. Investigations of these materials are mostly carried out in environmental test chambers under controlled climatic conditions. For reliable results of such tests appropriate quality assurance/quality control procedures must be implemented. For this purpose, reference materials are an important tool but so far they are not commercially available.
In the European collaborative research project “KEY-VOCs”, BAM aimed to develop a reproducibly emitting reference material with a long shelf life and high source strength to allow both the safe transportation to the customer without significant losses and the use of the samples in large test chambers with little material input. It should have the same emission properties as an ordinary test specimen. Thermoplastic polyurethane as supporting material was impregnated with pure VOC under high pressure to enable deep penetration. Liquid CO2 was used as solvent. The performance of the materials treated this way was intensively investigated as to reproducibility, homogeneity and stability. The results were so far satisfying and this candidate reference material shall be validated in an inter-laboratory study under identical conditions to prove its eligibility as a reference material.
Reproducibly emitting reference material on thermoplastic polyurethane basis for quality assurance/quality control of emission test chamber measurements
Matthias Richter, Birte Mull, Wolfgang Horn, Doris Brödner, N. Mölders, M. Renner
Building and Environment, Volume 122, September 2017, Pages 230-236
BAM Department Materials und the environment, Division Materials and Air Pollutants