Determination of silicon in natural and pollution aerosols by 14-MeV neutron activation analysis
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Analytica chimica acta. - Amsterdam
, p. 369-381
The determination of silicon via the 28Si(n,p)28 Al reaction by means of 14-MeV neutrons is applied to the analysis of pollution and natural aerosols. A Whatman 41 filter (40 cm2) on which airborne particulate material has been collected is compressed into a 3 × 12.7 mm pellet. Standards are prepared in the same way from clean filters spiked with a silicate solution. After a 50-s irradiation and a 75-s decay time, the sample is counted for 2 min with 5 × 5 NaI(Tl) well detector. The 1.779-MeV photopeak of 28Al is measured with a single channel sealer chain or with a multichannel analyser. The reproducibility, sensitivity and liability to interference from other elements were investigated for both counting systems. The homogeneity of the pellets and the filters was checked. The overall precision of one single-channel determination was estimated to be 3.5% after a 24-h high-volume sampling time. Samples collected in urban, industrial and remote areas with concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 15 μg Si m-3 air were analysed and the results are discussed.