Automated system to measure the carbonate concentration of sediments
Ostermann, Dorinda R.
Curry, William B.
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We have developd a computer controlled system to measure the calcium carbonate content of sediment samples. A menu driven program controls the analysis of each sample. The system first communicates with a Mettler digital balance to record the weights of the 40 samples which must be loaded into each run. The sample boats are next loaded into the sample carousel which is then sealed from the atmosphere. The system is first pumped down to a vacuum of 0.04 torr. The valve to the pump closes and the stepping motor turns the carousel, moving a sample boat over the delivery slot and dropping the sample into 80°C 100% phosphoric acid under vigorous spinning action. During the reaction, carbonate is evolved into H2O and CO2 and the resulting pressure change within the closed system is measured by a pressure transducer and recorded into memory next to the sample identification and sample weight. The system is pumped once again to 0.04 torr and the process continues until all 40 samples have been analyzed. The data can then be uploaded and converted to percent carbonate values using a regression line produced from multiple analyses of varying weights of a 100% carbonate standard. Precision of the system, based upon 120 replicate analysis ranges from 0.49% to 0.88%.
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