Using Alternative Carrier Gases with Accelerated ASTM D2887 Simulated Distillation Analysis

Author(s): Katarina Oden, Barry Burger, and Amanda Rigdon
Restek Corporation

Published By: Restek Corporation

Year of Publication: 2016


Abstract: ASTM Method D2887 now allows for alternate carrier gases, so hydrogen or nitrogen can replace helium carrier gas for simulated distillation. Here, we show that with an MXT®-1HT SimDist column and Restek’s EZGC® online method translator existing methods using helium can be easily converted to either hydrogen or nitrogen carrier gas. Because retention times are preserved with proper method translation, there are minimal changes to peak identification tables which significantly simplifies method validation.

Changing from Helium and Nitrogen While Maintaining Separation Efficiency and Analysis Time

Author(s): Jaap de Zeeuw and Jack Cochran
Restek Corporation

Published By: LCGC’s The Column

Year of Publication: 2015


Abstract: Most scientists in the world of gas chromatography (GC) will advise you not to use nitrogen because it is considered a “dinosaur” gas and, instead, use helium, which offers shorter analysis time. But, wouldn’t it be very nice if we could make nitrogen work for applications where helium is not an option?

Jaap de Zeeuw to Speak at Balaton Symposium

Jaap de Zeeuw

Jaap de Zeeuw

Restek is pleased to announce the participation of Jaap de Zeeuw in the 10th Balaton Symposium on High-Performance Separation Methods, which will be held September 2–4 in Siófok, Hungary. The Balaton Symposium is organized by the Hungarian Society for Separation Sciences every odd year, and it has grown to become one of the most important European separation science events. It is a highly technical and focused meeting that draws many important international speakers. The lecture abstract is presented below and more information on the event is available at:  For the full scientific program, visit

Presentation Abstract

A Simple Way to Use Nitrogen Instead of Helium as the Carrier Gas, while Maintaining Exactly the Same Separation Efficiency, Retention Times, and Peak Elution Order, without Changing the Oven Temperature Conditions

For several reasons, there is interest in replacing helium with a different carrier gas in gas chromatography. Hydrogen is the obvious choice, but there are some concerns with safety and reactivity. It is also possible to use nitrogen, but this is often not considered because it has a low optimal velocity and flow rate. However, by using method translation and chromatogram modeling, it is clear that the loss of efficiency observed when using nitrogen can be perfectly compensated for by using a smaller ID capillary of a shorter length. By replacing a 30 m x 0.25 mm column with a 20 m x 0.15 mm column, identical separations can be obtained in the same analysis time when using nitrogen instead of helium–with the exact same oven programming conditions. Even the inlet pressures are very close. The only price that has to be paid is a loss in loadability, which means that this concept will not work for every application, but it will be very useful for many. Besides the guaranteed availability, using nitrogen offers a big advantage in the cost and consumption volume of carrier gas, meaning cost per analysis will also benefit significantly.