Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC)

Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC) is an automated technique to determine at wt.ppm – wt.% range, halogens (fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide) and sulfur in a wide scale of samples, like coolants for mechanical engineering, recycled materials, and many others. It combines a combustion system with the analytical separation precision of an Ion Chromatograph. Since it is automated, it reduces time and labor by eliminating complex sample preparation steps. It also eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals applied during acid digestion or back extraction. Analyses can be carried out according to ASTM, ISO or DIN standards. During combustion IC, a small amount of sample is completely oxidized by pyrohydrolytic combustion in an oxidizing atmosphere (argon / oxygen) at elevated temperature. Halogens (X) are converted to HX and/or X2, and Sulphur to SOx. The released vapors are absorbed in an aqueous solution. The halogens and SOx are then converted to F, Cl, Br, I and SO42-. Subsequently, the sample solution is automatically injected into an IC system, where ions are separated based on different affinity towards an analytical column. Detection takes place by using a conductivity detector. Quantification is done by comparing intensities measured with those of certified calibration standards.
Consumer electronics testing

Ideal Uses of CIC

  • Analysis of flame retardants in plastics, polymers and rubber
  • Halogens in epoxy resin.
  • S, Cl, F and Br in consumer products and electronics (RoHS compliancy)
  • Applicable to organic and inorganic materials.
  • Pre-screening on fluorinated organics (e.g. PFAS).
  • Halogens in coolants, cutting oils, detergents for mechanical engineering.
  • Fluorine content in (recycled) lithium battery materials (e.g. components, black mass).
  • Halogens and sulfur in wastewater, waste and recycled materials.


  • Automated sample preparation and analysis, which enhances accuracy, precision and throughput.
  • Limited risk on contamination during sample preparation.
  • High sensitivity, resulting in low detection limits.


  • Low sample amounts (1-150 mg) per combustion.
  • No information about the origin of the halogens can be determined (e.g. type of flame retardant), only total halogen concentrations are determined.
  • In case organic and inorganic halogen and/or sulfur compounds are present, a combination of dissolution/destruction methods should be applied.

CIC Technical Specifications

  • Fully automated sample introduction system
  • Sample type: solid or liquid
  • Sample amounts: 1-150 mg (solid) or 5-100 µL (liquid) for each analysis
  • Elements detected: F, Cl, Br, I and S
  • Maximum combustion temperature: 1100 ˚C
  • Detection limits: sub μg/g level

Would you like to learn more about using Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC)?

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