Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Differences Between Propane in Nitrogen Versus Air Matrix Analyzed Using Gas Chromatography With Flame Ionization Detection.



George C. Rhoderick


New U.S. Federal low-level automobile emission requirements, such as Zero Level Emission Vehicle (ZLEV), for hydrocarbons and other species have resulted in the need by manufactures for new certified reference materials. The new emission requirement for hydrocarbons requires the use, by automobile manufacturing testing facilities, of a 100 nmol/mol (ppb) propane in air gas standard. Emission measurement instruments are required, by Federal law, to be calibrated with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable reference materials. A NIST Standard Reference Material (SRM) containing 100 nmol/mol propane has been developed. During the development of this SRM a critical question arose as to the matrix of the primary propane standards. The automobile companies make their measurements using total hydrocarbon analyzers with flame-ionization detectors which integrate all hydrocarbons in a sample. NIST uses gas chromatography/flame-ionization detection with a column to separate all components. Since the SRM mixtures were in air, the question as to the effect of oxygen on the detector arose. To investigate this possibility, two suites of propane primary standards were developed: one in air and the other in nitrogen. The two suites of primary standards were analyzed using NIST methods and the concentration of propane in an air mixture was determined. The results show that there was a difference of 0.63 % in the concentration determined by air and nitrogen propane suites.
Journal of Chromatography A


flame ionization detection (FID), gas chromatograph (GC) column, gas chromatography, oxygen effect, propane in air vs nitrogen matrix, total hydrocarbon analyzer


Rhoderick, G. (2008), Differences Between Propane in Nitrogen Versus Air Matrix Analyzed Using Gas Chromatography With Flame Ionization Detection., Journal of Chromatography A (Accessed June 15, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 16, 2008