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Determination of mercury in mineral coal using cold vapor generation directly from slurries, trapping in a graphite tube, and electrothermal atomization

Determination of mercury in mineral coal using cold vapor generation directly from slurries, trapping in a graphite tube, and electrothermal atomizati

Determination of mercury in mineral coal using cold vapor generation directly from slurries, trapping in a graphite tube, and electrothermal atomization   (Citations: 23)
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A rugged and reliable method for the determination of mercury in coal without sample digestion, based on chemical vapor generation (cold vapor technique) from slurried coal samples has been developed. It involves collection of the mercury vapor in a graphite tube, treated with gold or rhodium as permanent modifier, and determination by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. Mercury quantitatively leached out of the investigated coal reference materials into 1 mol l−1 nitric acid within 48 h when the coal was ground to a particle size of ≤50 μm, except for one sample (BCR 180), which had to be ground to ≤30 μm, or a leaching time of 72 h had to be used. No detectable quantity of mercury was generated directly from the slurry particles, but it was not necessary to filter the solution. The greatest advantage of the method is that only a minimum of reagents and sample handling steps are required, a prerequisite for accurate results in routine analysis. The results were well within the 95% confidence level of the certificate or close to the information value of the reference materials investigated. The characteristic mass of 110 pg obtained with gold as the permanent modifier is close to values reported for direct analysis of solutions, showing close to 100% trapping efficiency for mercury. A limit of detection (LOD) of 90 pg absolute was obtained with this modifier, which corresponds to an LOD of 0.009 μg g−1 Hg in coal. This is based on 1 ml of slurry containing 10 mg of coal, and is an order of magnitude lower than the lowest mercury content in the investigated reference materials.
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