Work done by a research team in the WVU Eberly College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Chemistry, in collaboration with researchers at GE Plastics of Parkersburg, made the Aug.15 cover of Analytical Chemistry, the premier journal of research advances in the field of analytical chemistry.

The cover article,Determination of Bromine in Flame-Retardant Plastics Using Pulsed Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry,centered on developing the technique of glow discharge mass spectrometry (GDMS) for use in maintaining the high quality of plastics manufactured by GE.

The research was conducted by WVU graduate students Lei Li and John T. Millay, and Davidson College undergraduate student Annette V. Welty, under the direction of Eberly College Associate Dean Fred L. King in collaboration with Dr. Christopher M. Barshick of GE.

This particular project centered on Bromine because it is widely used in flame retardant additives in plastics. In order to determine trace elements in polymers and polymer additives, the group used pulsed glow discharge time of flight mass spectrometry, a technique developed at WVU . This technique affords advantages including: simple sample production and rapid sample analysis, important factors for use in industry.

Currently, the technique is being applied to the determination of other trace elements of interests in plastics and plastic additives. It is important to monitor the composition of the plastics in order to ensure their physical and mechanical properties. The determination of a range of trace elements is important in the plastic recycling industry as well.

King said,Because the technique promises wide applicability to chemical speciation as well as trace element determinationits commercial future looks promising.