Determination of zinc, cadmium and lead by anodic stripping voltammetry at a mercury film electrode

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This Application Bulletin describes the determination of zinc at a mercury film electrode (MFE). Zinc can also be determined simultaneously with cadmium and lead. The determination of copper at the MFE is not possible. The mercury film is plated ex-situ on a glassy carbon electrode and can be used for half a day up to one day.

Zinc can be determined at the mercury film electrode by anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV). The presence of copper, which is naturally present in many samples, affects the determination of zinc due to the formation of an intermetallic compound. As a result the determined concentrations of zinc are too low. The addition of gallium can eliminate the interference to a certain extent since the intermetallic complex of gallium and copper is more stable than the complex of zinc and copper.

With a deposition time of 10 s, the limit of detection is β(Zn2+) = 0.15 μg/L. The linear working range goes up to approx. 300 μg/L.With the deposition time of 10 s the method is suitable for samples between 10 μg/L and 150 μg/L Zn content. For samples with lower concentrations the results are more reliable if the deposition time is increased to e.g. 30 s. Samples with higher concentrations have to be diluted.