Publication Detail

Field Testing of Lake Water Chemistry with a Portable and an AUV-based Mass Spectrometer

H. F. Hemond, A. V. Mueller, M. Hemond
8 pp.
MITSG 08-25J
$5.50 DOM / $7.50 INT

Two mass spectrometers (MS) are tested for the measurement of volatile substances, such as Hydrocarbons and metabolic gases, in naturalwaters. KOALA is a back-packable MS operated from above the water surface, in which samples are pumped through a flow cell using a syringe. NEREUS is an underwater instrument hosted by an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that is linked to a communications network to provide chemical data in real time. The mass analyzers of the two MS are nearly identical cycloids, and both use flat-plate membrane inlets. Testing took place in a neutrophic, thermally stratified lake exhibiting steep chemical gradients and significant levels of methane. KOALA provided rapid multispecies analysis of dissolved gases, with a detection limit for methane of 0.1 ppm (readily extendable to 0.01 ppm) and savings of time of at least a factor of 10 compared to that of conventional analysis. The AUV-mounted NEREUS additionally provided rapid spatial coverage and the capability of performing chemical surveys autonomously. Tests demonstrated the need for temperature control of a membrane inlet when steep thermal gradients are present in a water body, as well as the benefits of collocating all sensors on the AUV to avoid interference from chemically different waters entering and draining from the free-flooding outer hull. The ability to measure dissolved volatiles provided by MS offers potential for complementarity with ionic sensors in the study of natural waters, such as in the case of the carbonate system.

type: Technical reports

Parent Project

Project No.: 2003-R/RCM-10
Title: System Integration and Advanced Capabilities for NEREUS, an Odyssey-compatible in-situ Mass Spectrometer

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