I am an undergrad chemistry student and I am in a forensic chemistry class that is technically graduate level. I do not have much analytical experience, so I feel like I maybe bit off more than I can chew. I have a project for this class that involves analyzing nail polish via 3 instruments: DART MS, LCMS, and GCMS. I have a DART MS method planned out because it does not require sample prep. However, I am unsure of what to do with the nail polish to prep it for GC and LC analysis, so I am hoping to get ideas for the sample prep portion.

For GC: I am hoping to see if I can detect any toxic chemicals that may be present in the nail polish, specifically DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, and/or TPP. I have found a few research papers that mention using methanol as the solvent for the polish in GC. My concern is that I do not want to overload the column or clog it. How do I know if it will or not? How do I know it will be safe to put the nail polish in the GC with just mixing it in methanol?

For LC: I am hoping to see if I can get peak readings for the possible dyes or pigments in the nail polish. I have been unable to find any related research for this. I have some experience extracting dyes from nylon fibers via organic solvents and extracting by heating the mixture at 100 degrees C for an hour prior to putting the sample in LCMS. If I try the same with the polish, is it safe? Will the polish be too flammable (I think most are based in acetone but some of my samples I do not have ingredient list).

I just don't want to break anything or damage thousands of dollars of equipment and I do not have enough analytical knowledge to plan this myself. My professor is very hands-off and believes in trial and error, but I'm terrified. :shock:

Thanks in advance for any advice,

Crazy undergrad chem student who took a grad class too early