What do you breath in when you drive your car?

 car odours  How many times have we asked ourselves about the strong smell in our new car? For some people there is a terrible stink and for other people it is a very nice smell... the smell of "new".

   Taking apart the hedonic tone of the odours in the car,  what do we know about the odour concentration inside our vehicles? Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are widely used in industry and many of these VOCs are responsible for the odour emission that you perceive in your new car and sometimes also in your old one :-).

 

   People spend a lot of time in their vehicles, therefore there is a need for comprehensive and reliable information about the odours in the interior air of vehicles and also their concentrations.

   The Japanese Automotive Standards Organization developed some time ago the large-bag method to deal with the problem of sampling odours and they released the standard JASO M903 “Road Vehicles - Interior Parts And Materials - Measurement Methods Of Diffused Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)”. Also the German Association of the Automotive Industry released quite a long time ago the standard VDA 270 Determination of Olfactory Properties of Automotive Interior Materials. During an olfactory test according to VDA 270, the odour of a material is judged by an appropriately trained jury in degrees. Those scale from grade 1 'indiscernible' to grade 6 'intolerable'.

   However neither the Japanese standard nor the German one considers the new standards based on dynamic olfactometry set in 33 countries in Europe and Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Colombia for odour measurement .

   But we are lucky as there is a new initiative now with the standard ISO/CD 12219 part 7. Odour determination in interior air of road vehicles and test chamber air of trim components by olfactory measurements.

   This initiative has been considered as a norm to deal with the measurement and sampling of odours inside a vehicle and it is expected to include all the new standards about odour measuring and sampling. There is no expected date of release so far, but we will keep you posted as soon as there are news about this interesting standard.

 See a list of relevant references and standards here:

 

  • ISO 12219-4, Interior air of road vehicles — Part 4: Method for the determination of the emissions of volatile organic compounds from vehicle interior parts and materials — Small chamber method
  • ISO 12219-2, Interior air of road vehicles — Part 2: Screening method for the determination of the emissions of volatile organic compounds from vehicle interior parts and materials — Bag method
  • ISO 12219-3, Interior air of road vehicles — Part 3: Screening method for the determination of the emissions of volatile organic compounds from vehicle interior parts and materials — Micro-scale chamber method
  • ISO 16000-9, Indoor air — Part 9: Determination of the emission of volatile organic compounds from building products and furnishing — Emission test chamber method
  • VDA 270, Determination of Olfactory Properties of Automotive Interior Materials, standard VDA.
  • VDA 276, Measurement of the emissions of automotive interior assemblies in a 1 m3 test chamber, standard VDA
  • JASO M 902:2007, Road vehicles — Interior parts and materials: Measurement methods of diffused volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • T. Schripp, B. Nachtwey, J. Toelke, T. Salthammer, E. Uhde, M. Wensing A microscale device for measuring emissions from materials for indoor use, Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2007, 387 (5) pp. 1907–1919
  • ISO 16000-5, Indoor air — Part 5: Sampling strategy for volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • ISO 16000-15, Indoor air — Part 15: Sampling strategy for nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • ISO 16000-11, Indoor air — Part 11: Determination of the emission of volatile organic compounds from building products and furnishing — Sampling, storage of samples and preparation of test specimens
  • ISO 16000-24, Indoor air — Part 24: Performance test for evaluating the reduction of volatile organic compound (except formaldehyde) concentrations by sorptive building materials
  • ISO 16000-25, Indoor air — Part 25: Determination of the emission of semi-volatile organic compounds by building products — Micro-chamber method
  • ISO 16017-1, Indoor, ambient and workplace air — Sampling and analysis of volatile organic compounds by sorbent tube/thermal desorption/capillary gas chromatography — Part 1: Pumped sampling
  • ISO 16017-2, Indoor, ambient and workplace air — Sampling and analysis of volatile organic compounds by sorbent tube/thermal desorption/capillary gas chromatography — Part 2: Diffusive sampling
Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez's Avatar

Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez

Carlos is the editor-chief of olores.org and has been in the odour world since 2001. Since then, Carlos has attended over 90 conferences in odour management, both national and international and authored a few papers on the subject. He has also organized a few international meetings and courses. Carlos owns a small company named Ambiente et Odora (AEO). He spends his free time with his wife and his twins, Laura and Daniel, and of course, writing on olores.org.