Current issue: 55(2)
A method to determine sulphur as sulphate has been applied to search for surface concentration of sulphate sulphur on needle samples. The method is based on reducing sulphates as volatile hydrogen sulphide gas by using hydriodic acid. The hydrogen sulphide gas is swept with nitrogen into an absorbent solution. Sulphide ion concentration in solution is then measured using ion selective electrodes.
The method was applied on one to four years old needle samples collected from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) at 0.9 to 15.9 km distances from a 1,064 MW coal-fired power plant in Southern Finland. Surface sulphate values found in the samples closer than 4 km to the power plant were 50 to 100% higher than a nearly constant background level. No significant variation of values with needle age was found. The advantages of the method compares to other methods for sulphur determination are speed, reasonable sensitivity and low detection limit.