Combustion ion chromatography (CIC)

Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) permits the precise quantification of halogens and sulphur in solid, liquid and gaseous samples, as a consequence it is a crucial analytical method for environmental analytics, quality control and research, as well as particularly for the verification of freedom from PFASs and halogens.

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Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) for the qualification of inorganic ions

What is combustion ion chromatography?

Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) is a highly specialised analytical technique used for the quantification of inorganic ions, in particular halides (fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide), as well as sulphur and nitrogen in different materials. This method is particularly important for environmental chemistry, quality control and research, because it makes it possible to determine precisely the concentration of organically bound halogens and other elements in samples. By combining high-temperature combustion with ion chromatography, CIC provides an effective solution for the analysis of complex samples, environmental samples such as water and soil, as well as solid and liquid organic substances.

How does combustion ion chromatography work?

Combustion IC combines ion chromatography (IC) with a combustion process. As such, combustion ion chromatography is also suitable for analysing solid or gaseous samples.

Grinding the sample for sample preparation

Sample preparation

Before samples can be analysed using combustion ion chromatography (CIC), it must be ensured that the samples are in an optimal state for the combustion process. Depending on the characteristics of the sample (solid, liquid or gaseous) and the specific matrix, the preparatory steps can include homogenisation, drying, grinding or dilution. For solid samples, for instance, it is necessary to convert them into a fine, homogeneous form, for example using a cryomill, to ensure efficient pyrolysis and combustion.

Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) for the qualification of inorganic ions

The combustion

To prepare solid or liquid samples for analysis in an ion chromatograph, the samples are pyrolysed in an oven in an argon/oxygen atmosphere. This pyrolysis makes it possible to convert all halogen compounds into a gaseous state. Combustion is undertaken with a continuous supply of the carrier gas argon to prevent memory effects. The resulting gaseous compounds are then absorbed using a collecting liquid. The elements are ionised in this solution.

Analysing the sample in th Ion chromatograph

Sample analysis

The ions are then fully automatically injected into the chromatographic system and the ion chromatography (IC) process starts. This process involves separating the ions in the sample on the column, the detection and quantification of the ions in the elution solution and the generation of data for the analysis. The ion chromatograph permits precise, efficient separation and analysis of the ions in the sample. For this purpose the anions of different type and charge are separated and quantified. Quantification is undertaken by comparing the peak areas in the sample with those of a standard of known concentration. The entire process is controlled by the control software for the instrument, which ensures an exact, reproducible analysis.

Combustion ion chromatography
at Quality Analysis


At Quality Analysis we rely on combustion ion chromatography (CIC) for the precise analysis of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and other halogenated compounds in numerous environmental and industrial samples. Our expertise enables us to provide valuable insights into contamination by organic halogen compounds. These insights contribute significantly to quality control, the protection of the environment and compliance with statutory requirements.

  • Quick, reliable solution for your halogen analysis (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine)
  • Determination of the concentration of halogens and sulphurs in a variety of matrices
  • PFAS analytics: verification in water, soil, plastics and biological samples
  • The analysis meets the requirements: ASTM D7359-23 and ASTM D5987-96(2007)
  • Assessment is in accordance with DIN EN 228 for automotive fuels, DIN 51727 for checking solid fuels and DIN EN 62321-3-2 for screening the total bromine
  • Checking for freedom from halogen and for compliance with regulatory requirements (RoHS/WEEE/IEC 60502-1)

Combustion ic for the determination of sum parameters

Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) opens up new possibilities in the determination of sum parameters such as AOX (adsorbable organically bound halogens), EOX (extractable organically bound halogens) and AOF (adsorbable organically bound fluorine), which are of crucial importance in environmental analytics. These parameters indicate whether an elevated concentration of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds or halogen compounds is present.

Combustion ion chromatography and the analysis of PFASs

Combustion IC is thus a valuable instrument during the analysis of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFASs). PFASs are a group of chemicals used in many industrial applications, including fireproof foams, non-stick coatings, as well as water and dirt-repellent materials. Due to their widespread use and their persistence in the environment and in the human organism, they are an important topic for production and quality assurance in various application areas.

Practical applications of CIC

Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) represents a versatile analytical instrument that has wide-ranging applications in routine analytics across numerous sectors. Its ability to identify and quantify precisely and efficiently organically bound halogens and sulphur compounds makes it indispensable for quality control, environmental protection measures, as well as compliance with statutory regulations and standards.

Environmental analysis
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Environmental analytics

Combustion ion chromatography plays a crucial role during testing for harmful substances in oil, carbon sources and plastic waste. It helps to monitor the contamination of soil and water with persistent organic pollutants such as PFASs and therefore contributes to the protection of natural resources.

Electronics manufacturing

In the electrical engineering industry, CIC is used for the analysis of printed circuit boards, cables and insulating materials. It permits the identification and quantification of halogenated flame retardants and other harmful substances of relevance during the production and disposal of electronic products.


Fuel industry
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Fuel industry

Combustion ion chromatography provides valuable insights into the composition of petrol, kerosene, crude oil and coal, as well as the efficiency of catalytic converters. For instance, it assists during the optimisation of fuels and the reduction of harmful emissions.

Plastics analytics

CIC is used to analyse halogenated compounds in various materials and substances, which is important for the development and quality assurance of plastic products.


Summary: combustion ion chromatography

Combustion ion chromatography (CIC) permits the measurement of halogens and sulphur in numerous samples by fully automatically combining ion chromatography with a combustion process. It is particularly valuable for environmental analytics, quality control and research, because it provides precise quantification of halogens and sulphur compounds. Due to its ability to analyse solid, liquid and gaseous samples, CIC plays a crucial role during the verification of PFASs and checking for freedom from halogens in a range of materials.

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Julia Banzhaf


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