I am analyzing a couple of glass vials. I've crushed them, weighed them, and now I'm to the part where I need to add some HF to digest the glass for subsequent analysis via ICP-OES.
I'm working with someone else who is an ICP wizard and my mentor on the technique, but this is something he doesn't have much experience with. We've found quite a few resources on Google, but many of them use a mixture of HF, nitric, and HCl. I've used this mixture before for the digestion of coated pharmaceutical tablets. However, both of us agree that for this particular application the nitric and HCl doesn't seem that necessary.
We are planning (and hoping) that the glass particles will digest readily in HF only, left sitting capped in a hood overnight.
Here is the question:
Why so many papers used the mixture as opposed to just HF? Is this something that is really necessary? Our analytes include boron, silicon, aluminum, sodium, calcium, and potassium. Will just using HF without the nitric and HCl affect our recovery for any of these analytes, or is there any other reason we would want to use nitric and HCl?
We can get more sample and try this again if we don't get good results, so it's not a huge deal. But I would really like to better understand the methodologies I'm seeing.