Environmental Forensics of Coal Tar using Two Dimensional Gas Chromatography Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Coal tars are complex mixtures of inorganic and organic compounds, which are dominated by PAHs and were produced as a by-product of the former manufactured gas industry. Forensic analysis of coal tar samples was carried out using two dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS).;This thesis first presents the application of existing multivariate statistical models developed using UK tar samples to tar samples from the USA as well as identifying 947 individual compounds present within the tars. This has important implications as this study demonstrated that statistical methods developed using UK tar samples can be successfully applied to non-UK tars. The thesis then presents the application of post extraction derivitisation to a creosote samples allowing for the detection of 255 compounds, the majority of which would not be detected without derivitisation.;The analysis also detected 1505 individual compounds within the Creosote and provides the most comprehensive list of compounds detected within Creosote that has been produced. The analysis was also able to suggest the production process for the tar from which the Creosote was distilled. The use of both derivitisation and GCxGC were vital in providing this forensic information.;The thesis then presents the analysis of 16 tar samples using GCxGC and post extraction derivitisation and the production of a database of 2373 individual compounds detected within the tar samples. The study showed that 163 individual compounds were present within all tar samples regardless of the production processused. This has important implications as environmental assessment usually focuses on a limited number of compounds, which could be expanded using the database presented within this thesis. Finally the thesis presented a study that analysed a sample of Pintsch Gas tar, which has never previously been analysed using a mass spectrometer and produced a unique dataset.
Date of Award17 Feb 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde & Parsons Brinkerhoff
SupervisorRobert Kalin (Supervisor) & Richard Lord (Supervisor)

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