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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 194-197

The Crisis of Water Contamination Containing Lead and Detection of Heavy Metals by Square Wave Anodic Stripping Voltammetry

Corrie Spradlin, Mary Sullivan, Phuong Khanh Quoc Nguyen, and Suzanne Lunsford*

Wright State University, Department of Chemistry, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, Ohio 45435,
Received May 13, 2014. Accepted May 30, 2014.

Published: 20 June 2014

Abstract. The manuscript describes an introductory electro-analytical experiment utilizing Square Wave Anodic Stripping Voltammetry (SWASV) that focuses on the detection of lead. In this experiment, SWASV is employed to detect metal contaminant Pb at part-per-billion concentration using gold and silver working electrodes. The use of square wave potential waveform in the stripping step, instead of linear sweep, allows for the sensitivity enhancement in Pb detection. The silver electrode was established to give better detection in Pb than the gold electrode. The use of bare silver electrodes was studied to determine if they had the ability to detect lead and arsenic simultaneously. It will be displayed that the Pb could be detected by the silver electrode in the presence of As, but with a small amount of interference, thus students were required to determine alternate electrodes to develop from the literature. This lab has allowed an introduction to environmental chemistry and has illustrated the basic concepts and principles of chemistry as it applies to environmental problems such as heavy metal detection of toxic metals in water. The aspect of water pollution and the social and economic importance of environmental chemistry with relation to the allowed concentrations mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency for heavy metals such as Pb and As in water are a driving part of the electrochemistry experiences with SWASV in our lab.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; environmental chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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