Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Materials Science and Engineering (M.S.M.S.E)

Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Venkat Bhethanabotla, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Scott W. Campbell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John N. Kuhn, Ph.D.


plasticizer, polymer, QCM, thermodynamics, VOCs


VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can cause great harm to human health especially benzene, toluene and ethylbenzene. In this work a Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) sensor with a polymer/plasticizer film was developed to quantify the VOCs both in air and water. QCM is an acoustic wave sensor that can be used well in detecting the aromatic compounds in the film. Because more than one VOC is present in the air, this thesis focuses on finding the sorption of different ratios of VOCs (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene) using a polymer/plasticizer film in QCM. Poly (ethyl methacrylate) (PEMA) was used as the polymer because its solubility parameter is close to BTEX compounds and DINCH as the plasticizer which can decrease the glass transition temperature of PEMA and enhance sorption in the film. The experiment apparatus consists of a QCM cell, solvents bubblers, controllers linked with a frequency counter and computer and a vapor dilution system supported by the nitrogen tank. The data are output by LabVIEW software in the computer. The results indicate that benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and their mixtures in different ratios had good sorption and could be distinguished by using this PEMA/DINCH film in a QCM.