Could hydrogen used as carrier gas in capillary gas chromatography harm or degrade some types of polar stationary phases?
Best regards -
Lars Kürstein, Copenhagen
Hydrogen is the best possible carrier gas for almost all GC separations (my opinion, but it's cheap, fast and can come from a gas generator) and is not damaging any stationary phase.
You will loose a little in the plate counts, but because the separation is twice as fast as with helium, band broadening due to diffusion goes down and the peaks are sharper (perfect for chiral separations).
I would add an input from my experience that H2 carrier gas may cause some chemical reactions on some specific polar columns and compounds. Two scenarios I have encountered were (1) analysis of C4-C5 olefins on an AL2O3 PLOT column where some olefins react with H2 and form paraffins and (2) analysis of oxygen containing compounds on an Lowox column where you would see a lot of FID spikes. I’m not sure what reactions were but switching to He or N2 made those spikes disappeared.
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