How to Calculate VOC Content

Written by joe friedman
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How to Calculate VOC Content
The solvent in this paint can contains potentially dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOC). (yellow paint image by Jennifer Griner from Fotolia.com)

The solvents in paints, lacquers, inks, adhesives and other consumer products contain potentially dangerous ingredients called volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs can combine with oxygen in the air and cause smog-creating ozone. The federal government set regulations limiting the content of VOCs in these consumer products to protect the environment. Furthermore, the government deemed certain products benign and VOC regulation exempt. There are two methods the law prescribes for determining VOC content to determine compliance: pounds per gallon and pounds per pound.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Total pounds of solvent in the product
  • Pounds of VOC-exempt solvent in the product
  • Total gallons of product
  • Gallons of VOC-exempt solvent
  • Total pounds of all solids in the product

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Subtract the pounds of VOC-exempt solvent from the total pounds of solvent. For example, 2.27kg. minus 0.907kg. is 1.36kg.

  2. 2

    Subtract the gallons of VOC-exempt solvent from the total gallons of product. For example, 10 gallons minus 4 gallons is 6 gallons.

  3. 3

    Divide the result from Step 1 by the result from Step 2 to obtain the VOC content of the product in pounds per gallon. Using our example numbers, 1.36kg. divided by 6 gallons is 0.227kg. per gallon.

  1. 1

    Subtract the pounds of VOC-exempt solvent from the total pounds of solvent. For example, 2.27kg. minus 0.907kg. is 1.36kg.

  2. 2

    Note the total pounds of solids in the product, for example, 2.72kg.

  3. 3

    Divide the result from Step 1 by the total pounds from Step 2 to determine VOC content in pounds per pound. For example, 1.36kg. divided by 2.72kg. is 0.227kg. per pound.

Tips and warnings

  • The federal government determines which method to use, depending on the product you're manufacturing.

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