Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Development and validation of an anodic stripping voltammeter for remote automatic analysis of heavy metals in estuarine and coastal water

Automatic water monitoring systems presently suffer from some important limitations. The most important of these is the small number of measured or measurable parameters and in particular the difficulty of carrying out accurate measurements of pollutants in general. The aim of this project was to develop and validate an analytical module able to fill this gap at least partially, enabling the user to get unattended automatic determination of trace levels 10E-8 - 10E-10M of certain important trace metals copper, lead, cadmium, zinc.

Electrochemical methods, square wave anodic stripping voltammetry (SWASV) were chosen, on the basis of various considerations extensively illustrated in the relevant literature, capable of performing simultaneous determination of several trace metals in one run, low detection limits and extended dynamic range, minimum sample pre-treatment, relative simplicity and compactness of the instrumentation, adaptability of the instrumental method to automation. The instrument developed has been realised taking into account all the problems related to automatic operation and remote installation on unsteady containers such as a buoy or platform. Furthermore, the instrument can carry out analyses at the predetermined time intervals, store data and transfer them, on request, to a land based station through a communication network (radio or cellular phone links).

This automatic analyser offers many innovative features. In particular: a very reliable and reproducible wall-jet mercury film electrode, with the mercury film being automatically and completely renewed between each measurements thanks to an ultrasonic resonator incorporated into the GC electrode; a flow-through cell automatically preconditioned to minimise contamination and/or adsorption losses; an automatic data analysis of voltammetric curves such as baseline subtraction, determination of several voltammetric peak characteristics (peak potentials, peak currents) as well as metal concentrations.

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