Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography in Forensic Science
Published Online: 15 SEP 2006
Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry
How to Cite
Blackledge, R. D. 2006. Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography in Forensic Science. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .
- Published Online: 15 SEP 2006
Pyrolysis (as the term is used by analytical chemists) is the breakdown of organic molecules by the application of heat in the absence of oxygen. Because oxygen is absent, combustion (which would produce primarily carbon dioxide and water vapor) does not occur, and the pyrolysis products are characteristic of their parent molecules. Pyrolysis is most often applied to characterize polymeric materials or other samples that cannot normally be vaporized without undergoing decomposition. In pyrolysis gas chromatography (PY/GC) the carrier gas (usually helium or nitrogen) sweeps the pyrolysis products onto a gas chromatography (GC) column.