Preparation Work

WARNING: We DO NOT ACCEPT samples with enriched 14C (often used as a tracer).  Any contamination of any amount of enriched 14C ("hot") material may cause thousands of dollars in clean-up and other costs. If you submit "hot" samples to this lab, you may be liable.

Use of our Microbalance:

  • We have the best microbalance on campus that is certified yearly. Free usage for samples to be analysed in the Hatch Lab; otherwise, charged as per our price list.

Use of the Micromill:

  • The Micromill is a high-precision drill for specialized work such as drilling samples of growth rings in a whale's tooth, or a shell. Surfaces must be fairly flat, especially the bottom surface. You should still be able to see where you want to drill with the naked eye.
  • 3-4 holes of 300 x 300 microns yield about 0.5mg of material.
  • We will provide training, tools, and Kimwipes. You are responsible for providing vials for your ground material.
  • Most drilling work can be done using a Dremmel or regular drill with 1/16" to 1/8" bits. Check with us if you are not sure.

Use of the Ball Mill:

  • Our Retsch ball mill has grinding containers designed for organic material. They are not designed for rocks or minerals.
  • We will provide training and supplies for the price per sample. You are responsible for vials for your ground material.

Grinding of Inorganics:

  • We can grind small grains of carbonate, sulphide or sulphate minerals in a mortar and pestle.
  • We also have access to departmental grinding machines for small chunks of rock. In this case two rounds of grinding (coarse and fine) are required; therefore, price x2.

Acidification of Sediments or Soils:

  • There is no one perfect way to remove inorganic carbon from sediments or soils. You must do a literature search to determine which method is best for your field and your samples.
  • We can do a simple dilute hydrochloric acid acidification for samples with calcite or dolomite. More resilient minerals (siderite, magnesite) are more difficult to get rid of and may require heating and testing; an extra fee may be added. Please contact us if this is the case.
  • Filtration of acidified sediments or soils, or precipitates is a separate step (and charge). We use glass fibre filters.

Acidification of waters for TIC/DIC removal:

  • One drop of diluted HCL is added to the sample vial; the pH is verified (2 or less).
  • Water is degassed for 30 min with UHP Helium at 100 ml/min.

Dilution of waters for TIC/DIC or TOC/DOC:

  • Dilution of higher concentrations of waters is done using a pipette and a balance. We provide the extra EPA vial.

Precipitation of sulphides/sulphates in waters:

  • Zinc acetate solution is added to sample waters to precipitate zinc sulphide, which is then converted to silver sulphide.
  • Precipitation of barium sulphate is done by carefully controlled pH precipitation using barium chloride.
  • Filtration of acidified sediments or soils, or precipitates is a separate step (and charge). We use glass fibre filters.

Certificate of Analysis:

  • We can provide upon special request a more formal Certificate of Analysis which includes the data, the methodology, any control stats and the signature of the Lab Manager on lab letterhead.
  • A pdf of the certificate will be e-mailed to you. There is a charge to have this CoA prepared in addition to the regular final results Excel file.
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