Description of Industry

The chemical industry is a vast enterprise that affects everyone’s lives and ranges from large scale production of polymers and petro chemicals to specialty chemicals used for personal care.  Off-odors in chemicals, for example in polymers utilized for plastics, can be a major problem especially if the plastic is used for packaging foods, beverages or personal care items.  VAC specializes in detecting and measuring trace level off-odors caused by unknown contaminants.


Applicable Services

What we do

We are experts in odor analysis and trace level chemical detection and measurement.  Both odor analysis and chemical detection are utilized when we employ gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/ olfactometry.   We also employ expert experimental design, sample prep measures, and statistical analyses to ensure appropriate scientific rigor.

Odor Analysis GC-MS/O

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry provides the very best technique to quickly resolve off-odor issues.  This method requires a trained odor judge to sniff GC effluent and rate odor character and intensity.  This information is coupled by retention time automatically via software to GCMS chromatogram data to allow for rapid odor identification.   Our sensory and analytical team have more than 20 years experience with odor, analytical, and organic chemistry, and sensory analysis.

Odor Baseline Establishment

Baseline GCMS/O measurements have proved extremely helpful to our clients because they establish the aroma and chemical profile of a product considered good.  When odor problems arise new GCMS/O analyses can rapidly determine what chemical changes occurred compared with a product considered good to allow for production process examination and off odor mitigation.

Chemical Profiles

Chemical profile refers to what volatile (and possibly non volatile) chemicals a product exhibits and are characteristic for that product .  At VAC we measure the volatile chemicals a product gives off because only the volatile chemicals cause odor.    By knowing what a products unique profile is, subsequent ingredient changes or processing changes that cause odor problems may be quickly mitigated.

Odor Investigation

We utilize the most advanced scientific techniques and instruments currently available to detect and measure volatile chemicals responsible for odor.  We utilize gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/ olfactometry  to quickly determine what retention index values from a chromatogram correspond with odor.  This capability dramatically improves our capability to identify trace level chemicals responsible for off-odors.

Quantitative Chemical Analysis

The goal of quantitative analysis is to accurately and precisely measure the amount of a chemical (the target chemical is also called analyte).  Quantitative analysis typically involves developing a calibration curve that contains a plot of standard chemical quantity vs. peak area.  Based on the unknown chemical peak area the concentration may be calculated.

Related News, Case Studies, and Blog Posts

Measurement of Organic Impurities in Water

Approximately 10g of liquid sample (sample A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J) were placed in 40mL clear vials and limonene was extracted using SBSE, or Twister, at room temperature for 90min. Twisters were heated to 280oC for 3 minutes inside a thermal desorption unit (TDU). The TDU transfer temp was 280oC and operated in splitless mode with purge time 1.00min. The target volatile generated during thermal desorption of Twister bar were swept onto a cryo-cooled (LN2) inlet liner at -90oC (CIS4 liner in split mode 20:1). The liner contained glass beads for increased adsorption. The liner was heated to 280oC for 3min and volatiles were...

What is Off-Odor?

What is off-odor?  The true answer is you’ll know it when you smell it!  Doesn’t have to stink like dead fish or 2 week old ground beef left in the refrigerator, although those certainly are obnoxious.  Off-odor can be a nice fresh floral smell, like that of a rose, only the rose aroma originates from a batch of freshly roasted pecans.  The rose aroma doesn’t belong there.  It detracts from the richness of deep, warm, roasted pecan aroma. Many off-odor projects we tackle at Volatile Analysis involve issues akin to that of rose-pecan.  Aroma chemistry tells us one very common fragrant molecule that has an aroma similar to rose is...

Bottled Water Odor

Bottled Water Odor Bottled drinking water sales topped $12 billion in the United States recently, with steady growth of 6% per year. Consumers view bottled water as a healthy alternative to other drinks. Recent news articles place bottled water’s reputation for consistent quality at risk. A top contributor to unhappiness for many consumers lies in off-odor product. Click HERE to learn more about how we work with companies in the Beverage industry. Consumers who experience an odor issue with their water give varied descriptions of the aromas. Delays between production and use make tracking the problem difficult. Varied contamination sources, and sporadic appearances of the issue add more difficulty. These elements...

Five Big Trends in Cleaning Products

Cleaning products have become essential in the everyday life of the modern consumer. Identify niches in this industry with this definitive guide to current trends and drivers in the sector, brought to you by the leading experts at Smithers Apex. We hope you enjoy this information. Check out what Volatile can do to help your team solve odor issues with cleaning products or help in the development of new products.

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