Ion Exchange Chromatography Coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry: a Powerful Technique for Stability Constant Determination, Speciation Analysis and Kinetic Studies
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Facile procedures based on hyphenated ion-exchange chromatography (IEC) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were developed to determine conditional stability constants, speciate chromium species and investigate the reduction of Cr(VI). 1. Improvements were made to a method previously developed to determine the conditional stability constant, Kf’, and chelation number, n, using IEC-ICP-MS. This method allowed the accurate determination of the conditional stability constant of a simple system. However, the corresponding chelation number was significantly different to the expected value because the principal assumption, i.e. that the ligand was in excess, was not realized in the experimentation. Furthermore, it neglected complexes other than that formed with EDTA4-. By taking into account these factors, accurate Kf’ and n were obtained for Co-EDTA and Zn-EDTA systems. 2. A simple method was developed for chromium speciation analysis at sub-µg L-1 level in potable water by IEC-ICP-MS. Cr(VI) and Cr(III) were separated on IonPac® AG-7 guard column within 7.5 minutes using gradient elution with 0.1 M ammonium nitrate and 0.8 M nitric acid. H2 collision/reaction interface gas eliminated chlorine-based and carbon-based polyatomic interferences on Cr detection. Water samples were analyzed directly, without any pretreatment. The accuracy of the method was verified through accurate analysis of riverine water certified reference material. Limits of detection of 0.02 and 0.04 µg L-1 for Cr(VI) and Cr(III), respectively, were obtained. 3. This speciation analysis method was then used for kinetics studies of Cr(VI) reduction in acidified riverine water. Water was spiked with Cr(VI), with or without Cr(III), and evolution of each Cr species with time was monitored by speciation analysis, showing that the reduction of Cr(VI) was a pseudo first order reaction. By plotting the logarithm of the peak area ratio of the instant Cr(VI) concentration over that of the original spiking versus time, the reaction rate constant was obtained as the slope. The reduction rate increased with decreasing pH and increasing temperature. The activation energy of the reaction at pH 1.3 was calculated using an Arrhenius plot. This method offers the advantages of small sample consumption, minimal sample manipulation, and easy data interpretation.