Preparation Work

Until further notice, the turn around times for receiving data will be longer than expected. A world-wide shortage of helium, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, has forced us to drastically reduce our use of helium. We will only be running one main high-flow machine at a time. We apologize for the delays, even though things are out of our control.

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 (offline):

  • 1:1 H3PO4 is added drop by drop to the sample vial in order to bring the pH down to 2.5 - 3. HCl can also be used.
  • Water is degassed for 15 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 or powder is added to sample waters to precipitate zinc sulphide directly in the field, which is then converted to silver sulphide. Precipitation is not done in the lab after the fact; the dissolved sulphide will be gone.
  • Precipitation of barium sulphate is done by carefully controlled pH precipitation using barium chloride.
  • Filtration or centrifugation 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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