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Evaluation of different internal standards for precious metals quantification

T. T. Chiweshe
W. Purcell
J. A. Venter


The current study involved the evaluation of five different internal standards (Sc, Co, Y, In and La) as well as normal external or direct calibration methods in the simultaneous quantification of all six platinum group metals (PGMs) and gold (precious metals). The use of Sc as internal standard in the quantitative determination of precious metals in a liquid reference material (RM) and the geological Pyroxenite CRM was shown to yield excellent recoveries (> 99%) compared to the other metals used as internal standard in this study and the direct calibration method (> 91 %).Os recovered only 89% of the expected metal content. The evaluation of different proposed models (wavelength combinations, ionization and/or excitation energy) did not succeed in identifying or discriminating between the unsuccessful and successful internal standards. The robustness of the Sc internal standard addition method was evaluated with the variation in solution matrix (addition of HCl and NaCl). The analytical method (total metal recovery) proved to be very sensitive to elevated unmatched HCl matrix levels (above 1.0 mL of HCl (32% v/v) added) and Na+ addition larger than 4 ppm sodium using ICP-OES.


KEY WORDS: Internal standard, Scandium, Precious metals, Spectrometric techniques, ICP-OES


Bull. Chem. Soc. Ethiop. 2016, 30(1), 55-70.


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eISSN: 1726-801X
print ISSN: 1011-3924