Methods Development for the Optical Determination of the Black Carbon Content of Loess Samples


We evaluate the applicability of an optical transmission measurement method commonly used for the analysis of the Black Carbon (BC) content of aerosol sample, to determine the BC content of loess sediments. A number of different sample pretreatment procedures are developed and compared, leading to an optimum preparation process. The results include: 1) Subtraction of the optical attenuation values before and after heating of the sample filters (“ΔATN) varies linearly with the sample mass. The slope of the regression line provides the best determination of BC concentration. 2) When the sample mass is small, (NaPO3)6 pretreatment is best for BC measurement, and the BC concentration results are given by the slope of the regression between ΔATN and sample mass, for a series of samples of varying mass. 3) HF pretreatment accompanied by centrifugation and rinsing may produce a negative bias on the result. 4) Replicate measurements of BC for loess samples showed a maximum deviation less than 5.6%, suggesting that measurements of the BC concentration of a sequence of loess samples could determine variations to this degree of significance. 5) The overall trends of BC concentration in loess section sequences were similar for all chemical pretreatments. The BC concentration result for replicate samples is comparable when pretreated by the same procedure.

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Mu, Y. , Qin, X. , Liu, J. and Yin, Z. (2015) Methods Development for the Optical Determination of the Black Carbon Content of Loess Samples. American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 6, 585-603. doi: 10.4236/ajac.2015.67057.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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