Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society 2008 Volume 73, Issue 2, Pages: 249-258
doi:10.2298/JSC0802249G
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Determination of trace copper in water samples by flame atomic absorption spectrometry after preconcentration on a phosphoric acid functionalized cotton chelator

Gong Renmin, Zhang Demin, Zhong Keding, Feng Min, Liu Xingyan

This paper reports the preparation of a phosphorylated cotton chelator (PCC) by solid phase esterification of phosphoric acid (PA) onto defatted cotton fibres using urea as the catalyst. The synthesized PCC was employed for the preconcentration of copper from water samples prior to its determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). The preconcentration of copper was studied under both batch and column techniques. The pH range for the quantitative preconcentration of copper was 4.0-7.0. The sorption time required for each sample was less than 30 min by the batch method. The copper sorption capacity of the PCC was found to be 15.3 mg/g at the optimum pH value. Elution with 1.0 mol dm-3 hydrochloric acid was found to be quantitative. Feasible flow rates of the copper solution for quantitative sorption onto the column packed with PCC were 0.5-4.0 ml min-1, whereas the optimum flow rate of the hydrochloric acid solution for desorption was less than 1.5 ml min-1. An 80-fold preconcentration factor could be achieved under the optimum column conditions. The tolerance limits for common metal ions on the preconcentration of copper and the number of times of column reuse were investigated. The proposed method was successfully applied for the preconcentration and determination of trace copper in natural and drinking water samples by FAAS.

Keywords: phosphoric acid, PCC, trace copper, preconcentration, FAAS, determination

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