Thursday, May 11, 2006

Copper in seawater


This is the worst analysis ever, it's called Time Transient Resolved Analysis (TTRA) or Flow Injection Analysis of Seawater (FIAS). The methods are the same, they remove the salt from the seawater so I can measure the concentration of copper. The problem is the flow, there are two pumps, two valves, four lines, a 5mL loop, column, and six way valve, and the flow has got to be steady. A simple calculation reveals 7 to the 10th ways for it to screw up.

I have to use a bunch of para-film to keep the tube joints together because the pump builds up so much pressure in the peri pump tube to push everything throught the column.

The sample flows through a tube, mixes with a buffer (the whole shabang is pH sensitive), and flows onto the column. The metals, including copper and sodium, stick to the resin in the column. The column is rinsed with water, supposedly, the sodium washes off. Then the column is rinsed with diluted nitric acid and the copper comes off and goes into the spectrometer. The metals binding strength to the iminodiacetate resin in the column depends on pH.


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