Accurate determination of sulfur in gasoline and related fuel samples using isotope dilution ICP-MS with direct sample injection and microwave-assisted digestion

Heilmann, Jens; Boulyga, Sergei F.; Heumann, Klaus G.
September 2004
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Sep2004, Vol. 380 Issue 2, p190
Academic Journal
Inductively coupled plasma isotope-dilution mass spectrometry (ICP-IDMS) with direct injection of isotope-diluted samples into the plasma, using a direct injection high-efficiency nebulizer (DIHEN), was applied for accurate sulfur determinations in sulfur-free premium gasoline, gas oil, diesel fuel, and heating oil. For direct injection a micro-emulsion consisting of the corresponding organic sample and an aqueous34S-enriched spike solution with additions of tetrahydronaphthalene and Triton X-100, was prepared. The ICP-MS parameters were optimized with respect to high sulfur ion intensities, low mass-bias values, and high precision of32S/34S ratio measurements. For validation of the DIHEN-ICP-IDMS method two certified gas oil reference materials (BCR 107 and BCR 672) were analyzed. For comparison a wet-chemical ICP-IDMS method was applied with microwave-assisted digestion using decomposition of samples in a closed quartz vessel inserted into a normal microwave system. The results from both ICP-IDMS methods agree well with the certified values of the reference materials and also with each other for analyses of other samples. However, the standard deviation of DIHEN-ICP-IDMS was about a factor of two higher (5-6% RSD at concentration levels above 100 �g g-1) compared with those of wet-chemical ICP-IDMS, mainly due to inhomogeneities of the micro-emulsion, which causes additional plasma instabilities. Detection limits of 4 and 18 �g g-1 were obtained for ICP-IDMS in connection with microwave-assisted digestion and DIHEN-ICP-IDMS, respectively, with a sulfur background of the used Milli-Q water as the main limiting factor for both methods.


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