Polyalphaolefins (PAOs) are polymers produced from linear alpha olefins through catalytic oligomerization processes. The PAOs are known as synthetic high-performance base stock fluids used to improve the efficiency of many other synthetic products. In this study, we report the direct characterization of PAOs using atmospheric solid analysis probe (ASAP) coupled with ion mobility spectrometry-mass spectrometry (IMS-MS). We studied different PAOs grades exhibiting low- and high-viscosity index. Specific adjustments of the ASAP source parameters permitted the monitoring of ionization processes as three mechanisms could occur for these compounds: hydride abstraction, nitrogen addition, and/or the formation of [M−2H]+• ions. Several series of fragment ions were obtained, which allowed the identification of the alpha olefin used to synthesize the PAO. The use of the ion mobility separation dimension provides information on isomeric species. In addition, the drift time versus m/z plots permitted rapid comparison between PAO samples and to evidence their complexity. These 2D plots appear as fingerprints of PAO samples. To conclude, the resort to ASAP-IMS-MS provides a rapid characterization of the PAO samples in a direct analysis approach, without any sample preparation.
Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018