thumbnail

An innovative method for nondestructive analysis of cast iron artifacts at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania

Park Science
By:  and 

Links

  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core

Abstract

Iron ore containing elevated concentrations of trace metals was smelted at Hopewell Furnace during its 113 years of operation (1771-1883). For this study, we sampled iron ore, cast iron furnace products, slag, soil, groundwater, streamflow, and streambed sediment to determine the fate of trace metals released into the environment during the iron-smelting process. Standard techniques were used to sample and analyze all media except cast iron. We analyzed the trace-metal content of the cast iron using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, which provided rapid, on-site, nondestructive analyses for 23 elements. The artifacts analyzed included eight cast iron stoves, a footed pot, and a kettle in the Hopewell Furnace museum. We measured elevated concentrations of arsenic, copper, lead, and zinc in the cast iron. Lead concentrations as great as 3,150 parts per million were measured in the stoves. Cobalt was detectable but not quantifiable because of interference with iron. Our study found that arsenic, cobalt, and lead were not released to soil or slag, which could pose a significant health risk to visitors and employees. Instead, our study demonstrates these heavy metals remained with the cast iron and were removed from the site.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An innovative method for nondestructive analysis of cast iron artifacts at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
Series title Park Science
Volume 27
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Park Science