Applications of SIFT-MS to the Environment and Petroleum Exploration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science (Hons)
In this project, “selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry” (SIFT-MS), a sensitive analytical technique, reveals potential for the development of applications in the environment and petroleum areas. Many prior applications have shown their potential for analyzing samples in widely disparate areas. Its fast analysis process and high sensitivity gives it a significant advantage over more conventional methods. This project is directed at expanding this technology to more applications in the petroleum and air quality areas. The application to the petroleum industry has shown that SIFT-MS can quantify H2S and CH3SH in natural gas to 11.8 and 1.2 ppbv, respectively. The SIFT-MS results showed a good linear response with increasing sulfide concentrations by using the H3O+ reagent ion to quantify H2S, CH3SH, and the total combined concentration of DMS and C2H5SH. The ability to use the SIFT-MS instrument to trace chemical tracers, such as bromobenzene and chlorobenzene in hydrocarbon mediums, was also investigated. SIFT-MS showed also the capacity to trace these compounds in natural gas and LPG. The limits of detection (LOD) were also obtained. This study furthermore, found the utility of the NO+ reagent ion to analyse qualitatively some of the large hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, however, the SIFT-MS reactions could not distinguish between the structural isomers of these aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons and there was probable conflict between the fragmentation product ions with smaller hydrocarbons. From the air quality perspective, the SIFT-MS also proved its potential for use in air monitoring, using passive techniques and particularly for BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene) compounds. The study illustrated SIFT-MS’s ability to deal with thermal desorption and passive methodology in general. Ecan (Environmental Canterbury) routinely examines environmental pollutants in Christchurch air by passive sampling methodologies. In this study, we compared and achieved agreement by comparing the result of thermal desorption-SIFT-MS (TD-SIFT-MS) of Christchurch air with the more conventional methodologies of TD-GC-MS and the Ecan agency measurements.