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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 18 (2013) pp 319-326
DOI 10.1007/s00897132518

The Instrumental Analysis of Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (BTEX) in Gasoline by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)

Wes E. Steiner*, Kelsey A. Morrison, and Fredrick L. Joslin

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Eastern Washington University, 226 Science Building, Cheney, WA 99004, USA,
Received October 11, 2013. Accepted November 7, 2013.

Published: 22 November 2013

Abstract. The analysis of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) in gasoline using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is reported here for the instrumental analysis laboratory. BTEX compounds are some of the most common aromatic compounds found in petroleum products such as gasoline where they tend to be greater in concentration than other aromatics. BTEX compounds are considered to be hazardous air pollutants (HAP) under the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) which was designed to protect and enhance the nation’s air resources. This article describes an experimental approach to educators for the integration of GC-MS techniques into the instrumental analysis laboratory. However, even with a wide application in use, GC-MS has not yet been fully incorporated into the undergraduate instruction laboratories as a tool for both the identification and quantitation of organic compounds utilizing the standard practice of target and qualifying ions with endogenous and/or non-endogenous internal standards. To that end, this experiment allows for undergraduate students to use current GC-MS instrumental analysis techniques to qualitatively and quantitatively investigate an ecologically relevant topic. This experiment is designed and is appropriate for an undergraduate instrumental analysis course.

Key Words: In the Classroom; instrumental analysis laboratory; gasoline; aromatic compounds; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (551 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Detailed instrumental analysis guidelines for laboratory safety, good laboratory practice notebooks, and formal laboratory report write ups are provided for students and educators as supporting materials (53 KB).

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