Methodology for separation and elemental analysis of volcanic ash nanoparticles
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A methodology for separation, characterization, and quantitative elemental analysis of volcanic ash nanoparticles is proposed. A combination of field-flow fractionation in a rotating coiled column and membrane filtration is used in the isolation and separation of nanoparticles. The size and morphology of nanoparticles were studied by static light scattering and scanning electron microscopy. The concentration of major- and trace elements in the bulk sample and the separated fractions was determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry and mass spectrometry. It is shown that the total concentrations of most elements in the ash sample are comparable to their average concentrations in the Earth’s crust. On the other side, in the fraction 50–100 nm, the concentrations of Ni, Zn, Ag, Sn, Sb, Pt, Tl, Pb, and Bi are one or two orders of magnitude higher than their total concentrations, which probably indicates the preconcentration of corresponding elements from volcanic gases by nanoparticles. In the fraction represented by water-soluble forms of elements and nanoparticles smaller than 50 nm, Cu, Zn, Pb, and several other elements are found; the partition of elements between the solution and solid phase (nanoparticles) is assessed. The proposed methodology requires further development and application to the analysis of volcanic ash from various regions of the Globe.
Keywordsvolcanic ash nanoparticles elemental composition toxic elements rotating coiled columns fieldflow fractionation membrane filtration inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
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