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Thread: GC and HPLC for formic acid

  1. #1 GC and HPLC for formic acid 
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    Aug 2013
    Hi, I want to test the presence of formic acid and its quantity by either using a GC-MS ( Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometer) or a HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography). I will have 3 samples, formic acid in water, in methanol and in glycerol. The GC-MS is more accessible to me but I read on the internet that HPLC is more suitable for the task.

    Also, one of my teacher in charge of the GC-MS says that whatever samples I put in her GC-MS cannot contain water or it will damage the whole thing. That will mean I have to strike out testing the formic acid/water sample. Also I don't think I will be using pure methanol, as methanol is relatively dangerous, so I guess it will contain water as well.
    My teacher suggest I remove the water from my samples first and then dissolve whatever that remained into a 'GC-grade' (High purity) solvents to be injected into her GC-MS. I loathe to process my samples further in fear of losing my precious formic acid, and I don't even have any inkling on how to go about removing the water ( its boiling point is nearly the same as water, what luck).

    My reading of HPLC through wiki is that it works somewhat the same concept as a GC except that the sample remains a liquid through out the column and it involves high pressure ( correct me if I'm wrong). Other than that, I'm still browsing through the internet looking.

    So anyway, can you guys share your experiences, tips, techniques and lessons on how to use a GC-MS /HPLC to test formic acid?

    Btw for anyone who might think it relevant, my formic acid will come from the reduction of dissolved carbon dioxide in a electrochemical cell with a tin plated cathode.

    Last edited by Clea; September 26th, 2013 at 01:11 AM. Reason: typo
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