STP443: Determination of Trace Metals in Seawater by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry

    Brewer, P. G.
    Assistant scientist, associate scientist, and research assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

    Spencer, D. W.
    Assistant scientist, associate scientist, and research assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

    Smith, C. L.
    Assistant scientist, associate scientist, and research assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass.

    Pages: 8    Published: Jan 1969


    Abstract

    The distribution of trace metals in seawater has been studied for a long time; however, poor analytical techniques and unrepresentative sampling have rendered much of the published data useless for understanding the role of these elements in the geochemical and biological cycles of the ocean. A solvent extraction method has been devised to recover copper, zinc, iron, cobalt, nickel, and lead from seawater and to transfer these metals into a solvent suitable for their direct analysis by atomic absorption spectrometry. These metals range in concentration from about 20 to 0.1 ppm in true solution, and in greater concentrations in the particulate matter suspended in the oceans. At these very low levels extreme care must be taken in the development of a suitable method of analysis and in manipulation of the sample. We have chosen the method of standard additions for our analytical scheme, and have paid particular attention to investigating interferences in the method and to establishing a “blank” determination for each and every sample. The nature of this blank will be discussed, and its effect on the analysis of each element will be described. A statistical treatment of the data has been developed, enabling us to use a computer program to process the raw data and to calculate confidence limits on each analysis.

    Keywords:

    trace elements, seawater, analyzing, tests


    Paper ID: STP47272S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E01.02

    DOI: 10.1520/STP47272S


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