Determination of low-level mercury by cold vapor generation and atomic absorption spectroscopy Page: 6 of 27
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Mercury analyses are periodically required by the 242-S Evaporator and Tank
Farm Operations. The mercury must be kept at low levels in all solutions
going to the receiving tanks as mercury is highly toxic and can complex with
nitrogen to form explosive compounds. The samples from these customers are
viscous and caustic, containing high concentrations of salts and other
dissolved solids. The present Atomic Absorption System (AAS) cannot obtain
the required detection limits. Viscosity makes the sample hard to nebulize
and the dissolved solids plug the burner head and nebulizer, reducing cell
size and sample aspiration rate. These problems result in poor sensitivity
and lack of reproducibility. The difficulty in atomizing mercury by flame
methods coupled with the sensitivity problems led to the development and
utilization of a flameless analytical procedure.
The procedure developed is based on cold vapor flameless atomic absorption
spectroscopy, the principle of which was first used by Hatch and Ott.1
Literature describes many instrumental variations designed to improve the
sensitivity and reproducibility in research determination.2'3'4 However,
for routine applications a sensitive yet simple method is needed. One
which can be run by any individual quickly and with reproducible results,
thus the development of this flameless mercury analysis procedure.
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King, A.D. Determination of low-level mercury by cold vapor generation and atomic absorption spectroscopy, report, June 1, 1977; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1059904/m1/6/: accessed May 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.