AChemLab5 - Determination of Blood Alcohol by Gas...

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Determination of Blood Alcohol by Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detection 2/c Anderson, 2/c Brockway, 2/c Harrison, 2/c Yahle, 2/c Zalewski, 2/c Miller and 1/c Packard Department of Science, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut 06320-8101 The purpose of this experiment was to separate, identify, and quantify ethanol in blood using gas chromatography with flame ionization detection. The peaks resulting from this method were identified by retention time and analyte response on the FID was calibrated using a 1-propanol internal standard method. Five standards were used to create an internal calibration curve or response ratio versus ethanol concentrations and to identify the ethanol concentrations of two unknown solutions. The results and data suggest that gas chromatography with flame ionization detection is an effective method to determine ethanol concentration in blood with an internal calibration method resulting in a much higher quality calibration curve than an external calibration method. The ethanol concentrations in each unknown were on average 0.122 ± 0.0406 and 0.137 ± 0.0406 g/100mL. These values exceed the amount of ethanol that would be expected in blood above the legal blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 g/100mL. Ethanol is an alcohol, implying that it contains a hydroxyl group in its molecular formula. It is made by the fermentation of sugars or starches from potatoes, wheat, and other plants. It can also be made synthetically from acetaldehyde or ethylene. Ethanol is used for consumption as a beverage, as well as for fuel, such as that used in automobiles. It is also used as a solvent for the creation of perfumes, paints, and explosives. 1 In this experiment, ethanol is being examined as drinking alcohol. When it is consumed, it travels through the stomach into the small intestine where it is absorbed and distributed. It enters tissues in proportion to water content, thus it is primarily found in the blood E Corresponding author. E-mail: [email protected] 1 Analytical Methods, Spring 2010
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stream and the brain. Ethanol is toxic and the body rapidly removes it primarily by means of the liver. 1 Inside the human body, and particularly the brain, it acts like a drug. This is the reason that people who consume a large amount of alcohol become disoriented and intoxicated. Although ethanol is very diluted by body fluids, it can still be detected in terms of concentration with various tests, especially those that examine blood alcohol levels. 1 It is important to be able to analyze it because it can be used as a means to enforcing the law, safety, and also for medical reasons. For example, in Connecticut the legal blood alcohol content limit is .08 g/mL and the ethanol content at that limit is .08 percent of 100 mL or 200 grams of ethanol. Thus, if results show the ethanol content to be above that limit, it can be concluded that the legal blood limit of alcohol has also exceeded the limit and legal action can be taken. A variety of analytical methods have been used to determine ethanol contents.
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This note was uploaded on 10/01/2010 for the course CHEM 341 taught by Professor Frysinger during the Spring '09 term at Conn College.

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AChemLab5 - Determination of Blood Alcohol by Gas...

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