A Comparison of the Capabilities of Atomic Absorption and Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy for the Analysis of Metallurgical Samples

    Published: Jan 1981

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    Three National Bureau of Standards aluminum brasses, Standard Reference Materials 1118, 1119, and 1120, were chosen as representative samples for a study comparing the capabilities of atomic absorption spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma emission (ICP) spectroscopy for the determination of trace elements in metallurgical samples. The results for the determination of lead and phosphorus will be used as examples because these two elements reflect the unique capabilities of both techniques.

    Phosphorus could be satisfactorily determined only by ICP, but great care was required in the choice of wavelength. The determination of lead is simple and straightforward by flame atomic absorption. The determination of lead by ICP was satisfactory but, again, the choice of wavelength was critical to the success of the analysis.

    It was found to be most advantageous to use low ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths for the determination of both phosphorus and lead by ICP in order to avoid spectral overlaps by copper and other matrix components. Comparative emission spectral scans are shown for the various phosphorus and lead lines investigated. The severity of spectral interferences is compared for the UV and low UV wavelengths of phosphorus and lead.

    This paper presents a comparison of the capabilities of atomic absorption spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy for the analysis of aluminum brasses. Lead and phosphorus will be used as example elements. The points of comparison are the detection limits, the sample preparation requirements, and the interferences encountered.


    aluminum brasses, atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy, lead, phosphorus, spectral interferences, analytical techniques, trace constituents, metals

    Author Information:

    Wallace, GF
    Senior plasma spectroscopy applications chemist, Perkin-Elmer Corp., Norwalk, Conn.

    Paper ID: STP28095S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E03.16

    DOI: 10.1520/STP28095S

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