Howard Vail

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Norman Holy, Curtis Wilkins, John Reasoner

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


Cold vapor flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry is an analytical method used in the determination of mercury. Its sensitivity is less than one part per billion using a 100 milliliter sample, and there are virtually no interferences from other metal ions. The method is best carried out making use of a permanganate-persulfate oxidation step with heat.

The ylide, triphenylphosphoniumcyclopentadienylide (CpPPh3), which extracts mercury almost quantitatively from water, was used in attempts to remove mercury from exposed goldfish. Though not toxic to the fish, CpPPh3 did not significantly lower mercury levels. Evaluation of CpPPh3 as a possible phase transfer catalyst failed to identify a true catalytic species.


Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

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