Application of trace analysis and chemometrics to environmental problems

  • Kenneth Caldicott

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The original aim of this investigation was to determine the factors affecting the treatability of coloured waters found in peaty areas. This involved the extraction of the humic acid thought to be causing the problem, followed by the analysis of the products of controlled degradation. It was found that extraction of the humic acid caused some changes to occur in its structure and that degradation, however controlled, was not reproducible. It was finally discovered that the treatability of the coloured waters was controlled by the treatment process rather than by the water itself.

    The project continued with an investigation into polyaromatic hydrocarbons in a South Gwent Valley. A procedure was determined which involved extraction, clean-up and HPLC analysis. The analytical system was validated and applied to a series of soil samples. The resulting data were subjected to a series of chemometric techniques.

    Factor analysis of the data set indicated that there were two major profiles present. This, and cluster analysis, showed that the Afon Llwyd is a major source of polycyclic hydrocarbons along its flood plain. The analysis of sub-groups of the data set showed that on ground not affected by the river only one source was describing the data. The sub-group containing just samples on the flood plain suggested the possibility of a third factor. This group was in the vicinity of a toxic waste incinerator.

    The final section attempted to investigate nitrated polyaromatic hydrocarbons in the same area. Whilst an extremely sensitive analytical procedure was developed it was found that the sub parts per billion levels of the compounds of interest were swamped by co-extracted components.
    Date of AwardNov 1991
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Polytechnic of Wales

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