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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 21 (2016) pp 63-67

Voltammetry without Mercury

Rebecca Kuntz, Dorin Bejan, Kate Stuttaford, and Nigel J. Bunce*

Chemistry Department, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph Ontario Canada N1G 2W1,
Received December 14, 2015. Accepted March 9, 2016.

Published: 15 April 2016

Abstract. Voltammetry is a widely used instrumental method in trace analysis. However, most analytical chemistry textbooks and undergraduate laboratory exercises focus on polarography, which employs mercury droplets as microelectrodes for the reduction of metal ions. Mercury is toxic and produces hazardous waste. The present work combines the previously known use of “pencil lead” microelectrodes to extend voltammetry to the analysis of oxidizable analytes, using the new generation of inexpensive potentiostats, while avoiding the use of mercury. This substantially reduces equipment costs for undergraduate laboratories.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; voltammetry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (391 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Two supporting files are available. Voltammetry  Chem 3430 Manual and a photo of a voltammetry without mercury. (717 KB)

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