Published: Jan 2011
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One of the key responsibilities of modern analytical scientists is “solving problems,” or “troubleshooting.” As a matter of fact, this is one of the most attractive reasons for entering the field of analytical chemistry. “Problems” can arise in research, development, production, technical services, regulatory requirements (such as the [ASTM International], American Society for Testing and Materials U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], or U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]), litigation, and many other areas . The role of the analytical chemist in industry, quality assurance, methods and technical development, troubleshooting (also called “firefighting”), research or science resource, and miscellaneous analytical roles are described in an extremely interesting report entitled “Analytical Chemistry in Industry” . Many problems in the petroleum industry, such as corrosion, incompatible formulation, failure of an engine, contamination of feedstock, or catalyst poisons, in general, can be traced back to some physical or chemically related problem of the system. As Botto stated in his 2006 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry Symposium report : “In the application of plasma spectrochemistry to ‘real world’ materials and problems, almost nothing can top the petroleum and petrochemical industry for its ability to generate tough analytical challenges on a daily basis. ICP spectrochemists working in the industry ‘get down and get dirty’ with some of the nastiest and most complex sample matrices on Earth.” Hence, a symposium has been dedicated to petroleum materials and petroleum applications in the Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry since 2006.
Hwang, J. David
Chevron Energy Technology Company, Richmond, California