Thursday, November 10, 2011

PID-based #GCs: ready, set, cruise!

GUEST BLOG POST: Jack Driscoll (JND)

Maclachlan, Driscoll, The Cutters
On Friday, Nov.5, 2011, Jennifer Maclachlan and I (JND) from PID Analyzers of Sandwich, MA had a tour of the US Navy research vessel, Knorr located at its home port of Falmouth, MA at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). 

L to R: Driscoll & Cutter
It is a magnificent ocean going laboratory with clean rooms, wet chemistry & instrumental laboratories for on-board monitoring of > 20 trace metals, nutrients, pH, conductivity & isotopes etc. in sea water samples.
The ocean research vessel Knorr (279’) is one of the largest U.S. Navy research vessels and is operated by WHOI (Falmouth, MA). The Knorr is best known as the ship that supported a team of WHOI and French researchers who discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985. One of our customers is Prof. Gregory Cutter, Old Dominion University, an Ocean Researcher, and co-Chief Scientist of this voyage of the Knorr. The R/V Knorr (above) departed on Nov. 6 to Bermuda then to Cape Verde Island. This crew of 24 plus 32 scientists who will working on the determination of trace metals, nutrients etc. in the ocean waters under an National Science Foundation grant will be gone about six weeks.

PID Analyzers helped resurrect several of Old Dominion University’s 25 year old HNU model 301 GC’s equipped with photoionization detectors for the detection of As+3, As+5, & total Arsenic (Cutter 1991 see technical paper) These GC’s will be generating a significant amount of data on the arsenic concentrations in the ocean water from the surface down to the bottom (no sediment). 

There is a crew of 24 and 32 scientists (including graduate students) aboard the vessel. The scientists will be determining nutrient levels, & more than 20 trace metals. Many of the samples will be run in real time since they run analyses around the clock. Thousands of samples will be collected to be tested by other labs around the world. Altogether more than 30 tons of seawater will be collected during this voyage. In addition to mercury levels in water, they will be determining freons in air samples collected during the voyage. 

 The work in this report was done with an HNU GC301 shown (left). The replacement instrument described in this report is a GC322 manufactured by: 
PID Analyzers, LLC
2 Washington Circle,

Sandwich, MA 02563

Note that PID Analyzers also makes a PI52 detector that can be mounted on any GC to detect As and Se compounds. See Model 52 detector brochure here.

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