Searching for elemental traces in petrochemicals

The high-precision ICPE-9000 inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer

To evaluate elemental pollution in petrochemical applications, it is necessary to measure organic samples in a direct way without any dilution, since concentrations may already be very low. For fast multi-element analysis, Shimadzu’s ICPE-9000 is most suitable.

The Ar/O2 Mixed Gas Supply Kit is recommended for obtaining highest sensitivity in the measurement of organic solvents. This kit uses a special 4-way Quadruple torch (figure 1). An additional gas (Ar + O2) is mixed with the carrier gas flow, resulting in high oxidizing power. This allows the measurement of trace levels by reducing the background noise from the organic solvent, which is now separated more easily.

Figure 1: Sample introduction and torch

The oxygen kit can be helpful with many different types of organic solvents, such as kerosene, xylene, methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and ethyl alcohol.

To show some typical limits of quantification (LOQ), different elements were analyzed in toluene (figure 2). In this case, the limit of detection (LOD) was about a third of the LOQ.

Figure 2: Calibration and LOQ of some elements in toluene

An application note focussing on highest sensitivity of tin (Sn) in toluene is available by scanning the QR code: