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Skidmore College
Stable Isotope and Palæoclimate Analysis Laboratory

Elemental Analyzer

Elemental Analyzer  EA Auto Sampler

The Costech Elemental Combustion System (ECS) 4010 is an elemental analyzer (EA) capable of flash combustion of solid and liquid material and subsequent and chromatographic separation of the various resulting gases.  The packing of combustion columns, traps and filters with reagents in various configurations allow for the removal of gases not of interest.  A gas chromatographic column in an oven allows for the separation of various gases to reduce interference.  Once gases are separated, a thermal conductivity detector (TCD) provides information on the percent composition of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulfur in the resulting gases and sample.  Oxygen composition of solids and liquids can also be analyzed using a pyrolysis reaction, higher flash oven temperatures, and different column reagents, though a TCEA is a better machine for oxygen analysis.  Isotopic composition of the sample gases is estimated by porting the resulting gases to the MAT-253 mass spectrometer through one of the needle valves located on a continuous flow inlet block.  A Conflo IV controls the flow rates and traffic of required reference gases from the manifold and sample gases from the ECS 4010.  Additionally, the Conflo can differentially dilute reference gases and sample gases to ensure the resulting ionic mass intensities are in range of the MAT-253 detector cups and each other, ensuring the highest possible precision.