Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-153
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-153

  15 Jun 2021

15 Jun 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal AMT and is expected to appear here in due course.

Behaviour of KCl sorbent traps and KCl trapping solutions used for atmospheric mercury speciation: stability and specificity

Jan Gačnik1,2, Igor Živković2, Sergio Ribeiro Guevara3, Radojko Jaćimović2, Jože Kotnik2, Gianmarco De Feo4, Matthew A. Dexter4, Warren T. Corns4, and Milena Horvat1,2 Jan Gačnik et al.
  • 1Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, Jamova Cesta 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova Cesta 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 3Laboratorio de Análisis por Activación Neutrónica, Centro Atómico Bariloche, Av. Bustillo km 9.5, 8400 Bariloche, Argentina
  • 4P S Analytical Ltd, Arthur House, Main Road, Orpington, Kent, BR5 3HP, UK

Abstract. Atmospheric mercury speciation is of paramount importance for understanding the behavior of mercury once it is emitted into the atmosphere as gaseous elemental (GEM), gaseous oxidized (GOM) and particulate-bound (PBM) mercury. GOM and PBM sampling are the most problematic steps in the analytical procedure. GOM sampling with speciation traps composed of KCl sorbent materials and KCl trapping solutions are commonly used sampling methods, although the work done at ambient air concentrations is limited. The results of the specificity test showed that the KCl sorbent traps are very specific when using new traps, while their specificity drops dramatically when they are reused. The results of the stability test showed that the highest Hg2+ losses (up to 5.5 % of Hg2+ loss) occur when low amounts of Hg2+ (< 1 ng) are loaded, due to a reduction of Hg2+ to Hg0. GOM losses should be taken into account when using KCl sorbent traps for atmospheric Hg speciation, especially at low ambient GOM concentrations. KCl trapping solutions have also been considered as a selective trapping media for GOM in atmospheric samples. A dimensionless Henry’s law constant was experimentally derived and was used to calculate the solubility of elemental Hg in KCl solution. The degree of GEM oxidation was established by purging elemental Hg calibration gas into a KCl solution and determining the GOM trapped using aqueous phase propylation liquid-liquid extraction GC-AFS. A positive GOM bias was observed due to the solubility and oxidation of GEM in KCl trapping solutions strongly suggesting that this approach is unsuitable for atmospheric mercury speciation measurements.

Jan Gačnik et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-153', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Jan Gacnik, 27 Jul 2021
      • RC3: 'Reply on AC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Aug 2021
        • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Jan Gacnik, 26 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-153', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Jan Gacnik, 27 Jul 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-153', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Jan Gacnik, 27 Jul 2021
      • RC3: 'Reply on AC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Aug 2021
        • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Jan Gacnik, 26 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-153', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Jan Gacnik, 27 Jul 2021

Jan Gačnik et al.

Jan Gačnik et al.

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Short summary
Atmospheric mercury and knowledge of its transformations and processes are of great importance for lowering its anthropogenic emissions. To ensure that, it is crucial to have a tested and validated measurement procedure. Since this is not always the case, we performed experiments that provided insight into commonly used atmospheric mercury sampling methods. The results showed that some sampling methods are unsuitable, and some useful if we consider the results obtained from this work.