- Samples are weighed precisely into silver capsules and dropped at pre-set times into reaction tube (at 1060°C). A constant stream of helium is maintained through tube in sample to carbon monoxide.
- Carbon monoxide is separated from other gases on a chromatographic column and quantitatively measured by a thermal conductivity detector.
The technique is generally free of interferences for compounds containing only carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, chlorine, bromine or iodine.
- Fluorine interferes significantly due to its ability to liberate oxygen from the glass components in the system.
- Alkaline metals, alkaline earths, lanthanide and actinide series, silicon and other elements that form thermally stable oxides not reduced by carbon can induce significant errors.
- Phosphorus compounds can poison the carbon catalyst sufficiently to passivate its performance.