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Portable Mercury Analyzer for

Air, Workplace & Water

Hg in air, Cold vapor Hg for Water, Optional gpld

perconcentrator ; Also available as 19 rack or NEMA 4
outdoor water tight enclosure


Low Cost Mercury Analyzers

Model 80 UV

This method is for dethweimination

of inorganic mercury. Organo
mercury is not detected by this
method unless it is first oxidized with
KMnO 4.
inorganic Mecury has one of the
highest extinction coefficients of any
compound in the middle UV (253.7
nm). Only organic compounds with
unsaturation (pi electrons) absorb in
this region and those compounds that
do absorb weakly. This feature has
been used for many years as a very
selective method for the detection of
mercury in air and water.
UV Absorption
The UV absorbance detector uses a
low pressuure Hg lamp (90+ % of the
emission is at 253.7 nm), a 30 cm
pathlength cell, and a UV photo
The absorbance measurement is
determined by the Lambert Beer
I = Io e -lc
log I/Io = lc
abs. =lc

the extinbtion coefficient

l = path length (cm)
c = comcentration (moles/l)
A schematic of the UV detector is
shown in Fig. 1:
Detection of Mercury
The UV absorbance method for mercury has been been used for measuring ing mercury in workplace for many

years. Mercury has an extinction coefficient of 106 at 253,7 nm whule

aromatic compounds like benzene,
toluene and other organics only absorb weakly in the middle UV. See table
I below:
Table I
Absorbance in the UV @253.7 nm

Extinvtion Coefficient

OSHA Method for Hg in the workplace

A UV photometer (253.7 nm) has
been used for industrial hygiene
surveys of mercury for many years.
This technique is very sensitive for
mercury because of its strong
absorption coefficient (10000x >)
compared to other compounds. It
also provides direct reading, a rapid
response and is an excellent survey
tool to find mercury.
EPA Method for water
The EPA tests for Hg in drinking
waterwater to meet a 2 ppb standard. When mercury compounds in
solution are treated with a strong
educing agent (NaBH4), the mercry
salts are reduced to elemental Hg.
This method is commonly refered to
as the Harch and Ott Cold Vapor Hg
Generation technique. EPA method
245.1 was one of the first methods
developed for measuring Hg in
drinking water at the 2 ppb level.

Arsenic Types, Speciation & Software

Hg in WaterMercury exists in water in the divalent

state as a salt. Some of the organo
Hg compounds like methyl mercury are
extremely toxic. The most common
methods for Hg determination involve
the reduction to elemental mercury
by a strong reducing agent such as
Sn/HCl or NaBH4/HCl.

3H2O+ 2NaBH4 => 8H. + 2H3BO3

8H. + Hg+2 => Hgo + 3 H2
The reaction is carried out in a closed
vessel (Fig. 2) and an inert gas is added
to sweep the elemental Hg into a UV
cell where the absorbance is measured
and converted into a concentration
such as ppb or ng/ml after calibration
of the analyzer with known standards.

Detection Method- UV absorbance at
253.7 nm
Micro computer
Lamp: Hg low pressure
Detector: UV photo diode
Cell: long path 20 mm
Size: 12 W x 14 D x 4 H with
handle Al
NEMA 2 Enclosure- General purpose
Weight: 7.5 pounds
Battery: NiM Hydride
Operating Time: 8-10 hours
Mercury check with gold beads
16 bit ADC/ 2 ranges
Also available in a 19 rack enclosure or a NEMA 4 enclosure for
outdoor mounting
5 timed events

Fig 1 Schematic of Hg System

Standard output: 0-1 VDC, RS232;

RE485, direct internet connection
Controller: Micro Computer
Hg Detection limit:

0.5 ppb

Hg Detection Limit: 0.1 ppb
Range: 0.1 ppb-1,000 ppb
Fig.2 Sparging Vessel

CV =13% at 1 ppb
CV =45% at 0.35 ppb

Specifications for The Mercury Analyzers

Mercury in Air

Mercury in Water,Soil, Food (options)

For workplace air sampling, the levels are

0-50 mg/m3 or 0-6 ppb. The Model 80UV-01 has a detection limit of 0.5 ppb.

Mercury salts in water or soil can be

converted to elemental mercury vapor
using an acidic reducing agent like
NaBH4, and swept into the UV cell to
be measured by UV absorbance (EPA
Method 245.1). Model 80-UV-03.

Mercury in Ambient Air (option)

An optional battery operated concentrator is available for ambient air measurements. This consists of a external
rechargeable NIMH battery, a gold pre
concentrator which forms an amalgam
with Hg, a high volume pump, heater,
thermocouple and cooling fan. After the
sample is concentrated on the gold,the
water and VOCs are removed by purging
and the gold concentrator is heated to
500oC to breakup the amalgam and
release the Hg which is detected
specificaly with the UV detector and ppt
levels. Model 80-UV-2.
Typical analysis times are 5-30 minutes
depending on the expected ambient
concentration of mercury being measured. The detection limit for Hg is 0.2
ng/m3 with the concentrator.

4 H x

10W X 14D

Weight: 8 pounds

The detection limits can be improved condiderably by adding a gold

preconcentrator in Model 80-UV-04.
ApplicationsAIR-Mercury in the workplace
-Mercury in ambient air (requires the
optional concentrator)
-Mercury in drinking water
-Mercury in surface & saline water
-Mercury in industrial wastes
-Mercury in soils & sediment
Models Available
Model 80 UV-01-for workplace monitoring
Nodel 80 UV-02- for ambient air,
water includes gold preconcentrator
Model 80 UV-03- includes hydride
generator for water, soils
Model 80-UV-04- includes hydride
generator and gold preconcentrator


2 Washington Circle, Unit #4, Sandwich, MA 02563
Tel. 1-774-413-5281 USA or Fax. 1-774-413-5298 Web: E-mail:
HNU Nordion, Ltd, OY, Atomitie 5 A 3, PL 1, Helsinki, Finland Tel. +358-9-565 7240 Fax +350-9-562 6801
Web: E-mail:

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