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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-314
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-314
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Sep 2020

21 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Comparability of calibration strategies for measuring mercury concentrations in gas emission sources and the atmosphere

Iris de Krom1, Wijnand Bavius1, Ruben Ziel1, Elizabeth A. McGhee2, Richard J. C. Brown2, Igor Živković3, Jan Gačnik3, Vesna Fajon3, Jože Kotnik3, Milena Horvat3, and Hugo Ent1 Iris de Krom et al.
  • 1VSL, Department of Chemistry, Mass, Pressure and Viscosity, Thijsseweg 11, 2629 JA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Environment Department, National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington, TW11 0LW, UK
  • 3Jozef Stefan Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences, Jamova Cesta 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Abstract. A primary mercury gas standard was developed at VSL to establish an SI-traceable reference point for mercury concentrations at emission and background levels in the atmosphere. The majority of mercury concentration measurements are currently made traceable to the empirically determined vapour pressure of mercury. The primary mercury gas standard can be used for the accurate and precise calibration of analytical systems used for measuring mercury concentrations in air. It has been especially developed to support measurements related to ambient air monitoring (1 ng m−3–2 ng m−3), indoor and workplace related mercury concentration levels according to health standards (from 50 ng m−3 upwards) as well as to stationary source emissions (from 1 µg m−3 upwards).

The primary mercury gas standard is based on diffusion according to ISO 6154-8. Calibration gas mixtures are obtained by combining calibrated mass flows of nitrogen and air through a generator holding diffusion cells, containing elemental mercury. In this paper, we present the results of comparisons between the primary standard and mercury calibration methods maintained by NPL, a National Metrology Institute (NMI), and JSI, a Designated Institute (DI). The calibration methods currently used at NPL and JSI are based on the bell-jar calibration apparatus in combination with the Dumarey equation or a NIST reference material. For the comparisons, mercury was sampled on sorbent traps to obtain transfer standards with levels between 2 ng and 1000 ng with an expanded uncertainty not exceeding 3 % (k = 2). The comparisons performed show that the results for the primary standard and the NIST reference material are comparable, whereas a difference of −8 % exists between results traceable to the primary standard and the Dumarey equation.

Iris de Krom et al.

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Iris de Krom et al.

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Short summary
To demonstrate the robustness and comparability of the novel primary mercury gas standard, the results of comparisons are presented with current calibration methods maintained, using the bell-jar in combination with the Dumarey equation or NIST liquid standard reference material. The results show that the primary standard and the NIST reference material are comparable, whereas a difference of −8 % exists between results traceable to the primary standard and the Dumarey equation.
To demonstrate the robustness and comparability of the novel primary mercury gas standard, the...
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