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Continuous Monitoring of Alkali Metals in Gas Flows Using Direct-Current Plasma Excited Atomic Spectroscopy

Volume 58, Number 1 (Jan. 2004) Page 111-121

Häyrinen, Ville; Oikari, Risto; Hernberg, Rolf


A measuring instrument employing direct current (dc) plasma excited atomic line spectroscopy was developed for continuous measurement of alkali in combustion flue gases. Alkali compounds are dissociated by mixing sampled flue gas with a nitrogen plasma jet generated with a non-transferred dc plasma torch. The instrument can be used in two operating modes. The molar fraction is determined either by measuring the transmittance of the gas jet or by monitoring the emission. A tungsten halogen lamp and scanning monochromator are used for the measurement of the optical signals. Measurement of sodium and potassium has been demonstrated. The detection limits of the instrument are 50-70 ppb in the absorption mode. The detection limits are 2-3 ppb at 0.1 MPa pressure and 0.1-0.2 ppb at 1.0 MPa in the emission mode. The instrument is designed to withstand corrosive, particle laden, and pressurized flue gases at temperatures up to 1373 K.