Volume 42 Issue 8
Aug.  2023
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Guiyuan Dai, Guizhi Wang, Qing Li, Weizhen Jiang, Fei Zhang. Optimization of enrichment and pretreatment of low-activity radium isotopes in the open ocean[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2023, 42(8): 171-177. doi: 10.1007/s13131-023-2152-3
Citation: Guiyuan Dai, Guizhi Wang, Qing Li, Weizhen Jiang, Fei Zhang. Optimization of enrichment and pretreatment of low-activity radium isotopes in the open ocean[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2023, 42(8): 171-177. doi: 10.1007/s13131-023-2152-3

Optimization of enrichment and pretreatment of low-activity radium isotopes in the open ocean

doi: 10.1007/s13131-023-2152-3
Funds:  The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 41576074; the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province of China under contract No. 2019J01020.
More Information
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: gzhwang@xmu.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 2022-05-27
  • Accepted Date: 2022-09-13
  • Available Online: 2023-03-16
  • Publish Date: 2023-08-31
  • In the open ocean, radium isotopes are useful tracers of residence time and water-mass mixing. However, limited by the measurement resolution of commonly used gamma counters, the low activity of radium in the open ocean makes it necessary to enrich radium from large volumes of seawater and pretreat radium-enriched carriers prior to measurements. The commonly applied method of radium enrichment and pretreatment, however, has limitations of uneven coating of MnO2 on cartridges, relatively expensive cartridges, time-consuming issues during cartridge-ashing, ash loss during transfer, and changes of gamma counters efficiency caused by different ash weights. To address these issues, in this study we optimized the enrichment and pretreatment of low-activity radium prior to measurements. Firstly, we replaced commonly used acrylic cartridges with cheaper polypropylene cartridges, which took 6 h to be ashed, 42 h shorter than for acrylic cartridges. Secondly, MnO2-coated cartridges were prepared with a circulating hot acidic KMnO4 solution to ensure homogeneous coating. The radium extraction efficiency of this MnO2-coated cartridge was 20%–61% higher than that prepared by directly immersing cartridges in the solution. The radium delayed coincidence counter efficiency for MnO2-coated cartridge was stable with a moisture content of 0.05–1. Lastly, after ashing cartridges, instead of directly transferring the ash to a measurement vial, a mixture of hydroxylamine hydrochloride and hydrochloric acid was used to completely leach the ash for long-lived radium, followed by coprecipitation by BaSO4, to avoid potential loss of ash during transfer and variations in measurement geometry due to different ash weights. And the recovery of long-lived radium pretreatment was 94%–102%, which improved by 11% compared with the common method. In addition, the radium extraction efficiency of the MnO2-coated cartridge varied from 3% to 4% within the in situ pump working flow rate of 4–7 L/min, which fell within the measurement errors.
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