Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Science
Physics and Astronomy
mercury, concentration, concentrations, icp, km
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, ICP-MS, were used to investigate mercury pollution in Norway Spruce tree bark (Picea abies) located downwind from the Huntley coal-fired power plant in North Tonawanda, New York. We predicted that mercury concentration, C, would fall inversely with distance, r, and experimentally determined that after a 5.77 km – 9.47 km deposition delay, mercury concentration fell as C ∝r-1.48 with an r2 value of 0.96. PIXE was useful in quickly and non-destructively (experiment could be done repeatedly) determining order of magnitude concentrations for heavy metals with concentrations less than one part-per-million. ICP-MS requires a more involved sample preparation method, but was useful in very precisely determining mercury concentrations. After comparing PIXE to ICP-MS, we found that the two methods were in agreement, although with varying precision. For the comparison sample, we found a PIXE value of 100 ± 70 μg kg-1 compared to 43 ± 1 μg kg-1 for ICPMS (mass of mercury per mass of bark). Using the experimental concentration – distance relationship, we found that the Huntley Power Plant had a sphere of influence (mercury concentration above background levels) of 100 – 200 km. Department of Physics and Astronomy, June 2008.
Po-Chedley, Stephen D., "Using particle induced x-ray analysis and plasma mass spectrometry to Investigate mercury emissions from anthropogenic sources" (2008). Honors Theses. 1488.