How does Frontier Pyrolysis-GC/MS work?

What is Frontier Pyrolysis-GC/MS?

Frontier Pyrolysis GC-MS is a powerful and simple technique comprised of a Frontier Pyrolyzer coupled with a gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC/MS) system.

Using this technique, sufficient heat is used to break down the organic bonds of a complex species into smaller and stable molecules referred to as pyrolyzates. As the pyrolyzates form, their relative intensities provide insight into the nature of the original material.

This technique has a wide variety of applications for identifying organic composition of unknown samples. Detailed information about the compounds present in a sample is uncovered:

  • Molecular formula
  • Structure
  • Eluting time


Pyrolysis GC-MS is a highly-effective tool for identifying complex polymers, copolymers, volatiles, and additives. This technique can be used both qualitatively and quantitatively, allowing multiple and customized analysis on the same sample.

Analytical techniques using Frontier Pyrolysis are listed below. These techniques help you quickly solve the most difficult analytical challenges in an efficient and effective way.

  • Evolved Gas Analysis (EGA): Often referred to as “the road map”. EGA technique determines the thermal profile of the sample complexity when gases evolved during a customized, programmed heating process are transferred directly into the mass spectrometer.
  • Single-Shot Analysis: Simple and fast technique for flash pyrolysis.
  • Double-Shot Analysis: A solid technique for identifying volatile fractions, including residual solvents, additives, monomers, oligomers, and more. Double-shot analysis technique is also used to determine polymeric fragments and the breakdown of the compounds seen in desorption. (Learn more about Double-Shot Analysis)
  • Heart-Cutting (HC): A powerful technique for discovering detailed composition information of each thermal zone obtained from EGA. (Learn more about Heart-Cutting)
  • Reactive Pyrolysis (RxPY): A valuable technique for fully characterizing a complex matrix where target compounds cannot be separated and yield overlapping ion fragments. Reactive pyrolysis derivatizes the target compounds for easy MS detection and quantification.


Frontier Method Map
Frontier Method Map

Virtually any solid or liquid material can be characterized using an array of techniques, which are designed into the Frontier multi-functional pyrolysis system. Learn about the 2-step Method Map for identifying unknown samples using the Frontier Multi-Shot Pyrolyzer.


What sets the Frontier Micro-Furnace Pyrolyzer apart from other pyrolyzer types?

Other pyrolyzer types are coupled to the GC/MS by a long transfer line (See our article on Understanding Different Types of Pyrolyzers). The Frontier instrument is based on the micro-furnace design. It connects it directly to the GC inlet and uses a micro furnace that is directly thermocouple-regulated for precise and reproducible temperature control. Frontier Pyrolyzer delivers expertly-engineered technology, ensuring the introduced sample is protected from any thermal exposure prior to pyrolysis. This eliminates evaporation, degradation, and thermosetting.


Frontier EGA/PY-3030D Multi-Shot Pyrolyzer Pyrolysis GC/MS Training
Frontier EGA/PY-3030D Multi-Shot Pyrolyzer


Users have access to different types of sample cups, called Eco-Cups, based on the application. The sample is easily placed inside the Eco-Cup sample cup and automatically introduced into the Pyrolyzer for composition analysis.

The user-friendly Frontier instrument is low maintenance, as opposed to other pyrolyzer types which demand significant maintenance and supplies. The Frontier Pyrolyzer provides reliability, precision, automation, and an advanced technology that can be used in industries involved in routine and complex polymeric analysis, such as automotive, coating, inks, plastic formulation, electronic, forensics, and medical devices.


Explore Frontier Pyrolyzer accessories and how they can enhance the capabilities of the Multi-Functional Pyrolysis Solution.
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