The purpose of the Reston Stable Isotope Laboratory (RSIL) lab code
1710 is to present a method to determine the 13C of dissolved
inorganic carbon (DIC) of water. The DIC of water is precipitated
using ammoniacal strontium chloride (SrCl2) solution to form
strontium carbonate (SrCO3). The 13C is analyzed by reacting SrCO3
with 100-percent phosphoric acid (H3PO4) to liberate carbon
quantitatively as carbon dioxide (CO2), which is collected,
purified by vacuum sublimation, and analyzed by dual inlet
isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (DI-IRMS). The DI-IRMS is a DuPont
double-focusing mass spectrometer. One ion beam passes through a
slit in a forward collector and is collected in the rear collector.
The other measurable ion beams are collected in the front
collector. By changing the ion-accelerating voltage under computer
control, the instrument is capable of measuring mass/charge (m/z)
45 or 46 in the rear collector and m/z 44 and 46 or 44 and 45,
respectively, in the front collector. The ion beams from these m/z
values are as follows: m/z 44 = CO2 = 12C16O16O, m/z 45 = CO2 =
13C16O16O primarily, and m/z 46 = CO2 = 12C16O18O primarily. The
data acquisition and control software calculates 13C values.
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