Garden Grove, CA, April 8, 2013
In recent years, companies such as LA Testing have witnessed an increasing number of complaints relating to the sudden and unexpected appearance of soot-like material observed in homes and commercial buildings. These stains may form on carpets, walls, plastic objects and other materials, and are commonly noted around ventilation grilles and electrical outlets.
Often times, the culprit for this “ghosting” phenomenon is the formation of Black Carbon. Black Carbon is a fine-grained solid residue that results from incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons. Common sources of Black Carbon that can cause residential or commercial property damage include candles, fuels such as oil, propane and natural gas used in gas appliances and gas log fireplaces, firewood burned in a fireplace or a wood-burning stove. Even printer cartridges can produce a manufactured Carbon Black that is nearly identical to Black Carbon (Soot).
Black Carbon particles may appear as individual spherical particles or as grape-like conglomerates. Considering the size and the specific morphology of Black Carbon particulate, the analysis for identification of Black Carbon is best performed by electron microscopy ensuring the appropriate magnification range for imaging.
“LA Testing provides the identification of Black Carbon by utilizing Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) in conjunction with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis (EDX),” reported Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility. “Identifying the origin of combustion product formation can help to eliminate potential sources. At LA Testing, the identification of the source of Black Carbon is performed using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) in conjunction with Attenuated Total Reflection - Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). The analysis is based upon the different particle sizes and the presence of selected functional groups in the samples that distinguish sources such as paraffin residue from candles or fuel oil from oil heaters.
To learn more about testing for Black Carbon or soot, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.