The transfer of retention times based on thermodynamic models between columns can aid in separation optimization and compound identification in gas chromatography. Although earlier investigations have been reported, this problem remains unsuccessfully addressed. One barrier is poor predictive accuracy when moving from a reference column or system to a new target column or system. This is attributed to challenges associated with the accurate determination of the effective geometric parameters of the columns. To overcome this, we designed least squares-based models that account for geometric parameters of the columns and thermodynamic parameters of compounds as they partition between mobile and stationary phases. Quasi-Newton-based algorithms were then used to perform the numerical optimization. In this first of three parts, the model used to determine the geometric parameters of the reference column and the thermodynamic parameters of compounds subjected to separation is introduced. As will be shown, the overall approach significantly improves the predictive accuracy and transferability of thermodynamic data (and retention times) between columns of the same stationary phase chemistry. The data required for the determination of the thermodynamic parameters and retention time prediction are obtained from fast and simple experiments. The proposed model and optimization algorithms were tested and validated using simulated and experimental data.
Keywords: model transfer; quasi-Newton method; retention time prediction; thermodynamic models.
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