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© 2017 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Volatile compounds from polymeric materials such as weatherstripping were identified by solid-phase microextraction (SPME), a solvent-free analytical method, coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). These compounds, originating from additives and fillers used in weatherstripping processing, were mostly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The goal of this laboratory experiment was to demonstrate that a reliable connection can be established between the ability of our everyday olfactory sense to detect noxious odors and modern analytical instrumentation. The approach discussed here will guide students to develop critical thinking by interchanging between polymer and analytical instrumentation knowledge. The conceptual simplicity of SPME makes its inclusion in the undergraduate and high school curriculum appropriate and requires 2-3 h of laboratory time to complete.

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Journal of Chemical Education

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