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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 14 Issue 2 (2009) pp 49-51

Focusing a Comprehensive Lab Exercise in Trace Analysis: Mini-Project Work for Determining Copper in Cow Milks by Electrothermal Atomic Absorption Spectrometry

I. Lavilla, F. Valverde and C. Bendicho*

Departamento de Química Analítica y Alimentaria, Area de Química Analítica, Facultad de Ciencias (Química), Universidad de Vigo, As Lagoas-Marcosende s/n, 36200 Vigo, Spain,
Received June 25, 2007. Accepted July 24, 2008.

Published online: 1 April 2009

Abstract. This paper describes the application of experimental instruction based on the project-oriented work concept, focusing on trace copper determination in cow milks by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry as a representative case of trace analysis. The project is suitable for senior students in analytical chemistry/instrumental analysis and is intended to cover relevant issues in trace análisis: sample pre-treatment (drying, grinding, sieving, mineralization), method development (optimization of thermal programs), calibration, validation, and application to real samples. Experimental work involved in each of those steps serves the purpose of showing error risks inherent in trace analysis, sample dissolution, calibration methods, and validation, and also introduces other important concepts, such as recovery, calibration, procedural blank, and spectral and nonspectral interferences.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; trace metal analysis; sample preparation; atomic absorption spectrometry; active learning

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (113 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Details of the experiment including safety information are available in the supporting material (130 KB).

Issue date: April 1, 2009

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