July 06, 2020, 04:46:24 PM
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Topic: How do I do qualitative analysis with an unknown mixture?  (Read 164 times)

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Offline bigdonut

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How do I do qualitative analysis with an unknown mixture?
« on: February 14, 2020, 12:39:33 PM »
I got an unknown mixture that’s waiting for qualitative analysis. All the clues we know for now are that:

1. It’s a sort of toxic pollution (or consists of many pollutions), which is colorless and tasteless with a boiling point below room temperature.
2. According to the environment where I sample the mixture, it must contain at least one heavy metal element. There is a high possibility that it’s Gd (gadolinium), or another element which has similar characteristics. I’ll just call it element X below.
3. Some primary tests have shown that X can form at least two toxic compounds, X1 and X2.
4. X1 is hydrophilic. It has magnetic property. Don’t know if there’s also electrostatic force or not.
5. X2 is lipophilic, and this one has electrostatic force, no magnetic property or just really weak.

Now I’m trying to work out the analysis procedure and find out what X is. I encountered some questions:
1. According to the clues we get, how many metal elements are suspicious?
2. The mixture is poisonous and volatile, but we still don’t know what it is. It’s not vital, but definitely worse than junk food. Is it ok to use just fume hood without any other protection?
3. There will be bottles of waste effluent containing poison compounds which no one knows what they are. What can I do to dispose them after the experiment?
4. We have no idea about the concentration of X, so I assume it’s suuuuuuuuuuper low. Some analysis methods are under consideration. They are:

Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (TOF-SIMS)
Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)
Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA)
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)
Gas chromatography (GC)
Mass Spectrometer (MS)
X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

I plan to select 3 of them but I’m still contemplating. This is pollution so it’s a must-solved problem. Anyway, thank you for your reading and I hope you can give me some advice.

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