Reactions of vinyl chloride and methanol in a quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer during VOC analysis

Liangqiao Bian, Earl G. Alley, Bert C. Lynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A reaction between vinyl chloride and the solvent (methanol) was observed during volatile organic compound (VOC) analysis on a gas chromatograph/quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer (GC/MS). A chromatographic peak at a retention time consistent with vinyl chloride produced a mass spectrum without the characteristic chlorine isotope ions m/z 62 and 64 but instead contained an apparent molecular ion, m/z 58. The m/z 58 ion is not found in the reference spectrum of vinyl chloride. This spectrum was observed when methanol was used as solvent in internal standard, surrogate standard, or analyte solutions. Subsequent VOC standard analysis indicated that the abundance of the m/z 58 ion was directly proportional to the amount of vinyl chloride in the water samples. The correct spectrum for vinyl chloride was observed (m/z 62 and 64) when no methanol was added. From these experiments, we concluded that a reaction was occurring between the vinyl chloride and methanol in the ion trap producing a new species with a molecular ion at m/z 58. When ethanol was used as the solvent for the internal standard solution or surrogate standard, a correct spectrum of vinyl chloride was obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1528-1533
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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