With the emission spectrograph, the analyst is able to determine many minor elements simultaneously in water samples. Spectrographic methods differ chiefly in techniques of preconcentrating the elements. For waters with dissolved solids of less than 1,000 milligrams per liter, the method of evaporating to dryness and determining the elements in the dried residue is sensitive, precise, and reasonably accurate. The lower limits of detection vary with the quantity of dissolved solids. Twenty-four elements are determined by this method.
For waters with more than 1,000 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids, it is necessary to separate the minor elements from the major constituents before spectrographically determining the former, in order to achieve adequate lower limits of detection. Such procedures generally require more time than the residue method. In the first of two such procedures given, 21 of the metallic elements are precipitated with thioacetamide prior to spectrographic determination. In an alternate procedure, 18 elements are precipitated quantitatively with complexing reagents 8-hydroxyquinoline, tannic acid, and thioanlide. This method is faster than the thioacetamide method, but at the sacrifice of some elements. A Fortran IV computer program for processing densitometric data is given in the section 'Computer Program.'
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Determination of minor elements in water by emission spectroscopy
Techniques of Water-Resource Investigation
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