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Faculty Mentor

Jihong Cole-Dai

Abstract

Trifluoroacetic acid (TEA) is a product of the atmospheric degradation of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HCFCs and HFCs are widely used substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that have been found to contribute to the loss of stratospheric ozone. Deposits of TEA with precipitation (rain and snow) can lead to its presence and accumulation in the aquatic and cryosphere environments, with unknown long-term environmental consequences. Investigation on TEA impact and its fate in the environment requires sensitive, accurate, and fast analytical methods. The determination of trace concentrations of TEA using the technique of ion chromatography (IC) is investigated in this study, with a potential application of the technique for TEA in Antarctic snow samples. It was found that the IC detection and quantification of TEA as an anion is free from chromatographic interference by major anions in Antarctic snow. The detection limit using a procedure without preconcentration was found to be 0.2 ppb TEA, while the limit of quantification is as low as 0.5 ppb. Keywords: trifluoroacetic acid, trifluoroacetate, ion chromatography, snow, ice.

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