First Advisor

Robert M. Strongin

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry and University Honors








Degradation chemistry has been widely studied to assess the safety of aerosols in many fields. The study herein investigates the degradation products formed from MONQ personal aromatherapy devices- a new non-nicotine aromatherapy vape pen device on the market. These pens are marketed to alleviate symptoms of an unrecognized medical syndrome called “terpene deficiency”. These pens contain a glycerin (GL), or glycerol (VG), base and a blend of terpene-rich essential oils. Previous studies have investigated the degradation of both VG and terpenes and have shown that concerning compounds are released in the gas phase, including benzene, benzaldehyde, methacrolein and methyl vinyl ketone. 8,12 However, a study has not been done that focuses on the thermolysis reaction of terpenes combined with GL. Here, the purpose of these experiments is to bridge this gap in understanding. Adsorption-thermal desorption gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (ATD-GCMS) is implemented to identify the compounds in both the gas phase of MONQ devices. Methacrolein, benzene, benzaldehyde, and other organic acids and compounds were successfully identified in selected blends of MONQ devices. Considering most of these compounds are respiratory irritants, and benzene is a carcinogen, MONQ devices pose questionable benefits to consumers.

Keywords: glycerol, terpenes, glycerin, vape, aromatherapy, essential oils, vaporizer, ATD-GCMS, gas phase, aerosol chemistry, degradation chemistry, vaporization chemistry.


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