19 Jun 2024
 | 19 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Alternate materials for the capture and quantification of gaseous oxidized mercury in the atmosphere

Livia Lown, Sarrah M. Dunham-Cheatham, Seth N. Lyman, and Mae S. Gustin

Abstract. Methodologies for identifying atmospheric oxidized mercury (HgII) compounds, including particulate-bound HgII (HgII(p)) and gaseous oxidized mercury (HgII(g)), by mass spectrometry (MS) are currently under development. This method requires preconcentration of HgII for analysis due to high instrument detection limits relative to ambient HgII concentrations. The objective of this work was to identify and test materials for quantitative capture of HgII from the gas phase, and to suggest potential surfaces onto which HgII can be collected, thermally desorbed, and characterized using MS methods. From the literature, several compounds were identified as potential sorbent materials and tested in the laboratory for uptake of gaseous elemental mercury (Hg0) and HgII(g) (permeated from a HgBr2 salt source). Chitosan, α-Al2O3, and γ-Al2O3 demonstrated HgII(g) capture in ambient air laboratory tests, without sorbing Hg0 under the same conditions. When compared to cation exchange membranes (CEM), chitosan captured a comparable quantity of HgII(g), while ≤ 90 % of loaded HgII(g) was recovered from α-Al2O3, and γ-Al2O3. When deployed in the field, the capture efficiency of chitosan decreased compared to CEM, indicating environmental conditions impacted the sorption efficiency of this material. The poor recovery of HgII from the tested materials compared to CEM in the field indicate that further identification and exploration of alternative sorbent materials is required to advance atmospheric mercury chemistry analysis by MS methods.

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Livia Lown, Sarrah M. Dunham-Cheatham, Seth N. Lyman, and Mae S. Gustin

Status: open (until 24 Jul 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2024-50', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Jun 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2024-50', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Jul 2024 reply
Livia Lown, Sarrah M. Dunham-Cheatham, Seth N. Lyman, and Mae S. Gustin
Livia Lown, Sarrah M. Dunham-Cheatham, Seth N. Lyman, and Mae S. Gustin


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Short summary
New sorbent materials are needed to preconcentrate atmospheric oxidized mercury for analysis by developing mass spectrometry methods. Chitosan, α-Al2O3, and γ-Al2O3 were tested for quantitative gaseous oxidized mercury sorption in ambient air under laboratory and field conditions. Although these materials sorbed gaseous oxidized mercury without sorbing elemental mercury, less oxidized mercury was recovered from these materials compared to cation exchange membranes.