Determination of mercury in crude oil by in-situ thermal decomposition using a simple lab built system

Lian Liang, S. Lazoff, Matija Horvat, E. Swain, J. Gilkeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


A simple system based on thermal decomposition for the one step determination of mercury has been built. This system was applied to the analysis of crude oil and related products. Samples were directly introduced into the system without the use of chemicals and digestion procedures. After 4 min, matrices and mercury compounds were decomposed, and elemental mercury was collected on a gold sand trap, and then detected by atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (AFS). In principle, any sample can be analyzed by this method provided the sample can be introduced into the system quantitatively. The method detection limit was approximately 0.2 ng/g for 0.04 g of crude oil introduced to the system. Various other samples including, biological, environmental, and general merchandise have been analyzed. Results obtained have been compared with established traditional methods including radio-chemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA). Good agreement of results between methods was found. Recoveries were close to 100% for certified reference materials. Results were independent of mercury species and sample types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalFresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


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