Understanding the transport of trace elements through a coal-fired power plant requires reliable analytical methods for these elements in all the ingoing and outgoing mass streams. Coal and different kinds of ashes comprise the most abundant mass streams in such a plant. As a continuation of our previous work, we have optimised a digestion method for the AAS determination of heavy metals in coal samples. It has become evident that complete dissolution of metals in coal samples and accurate results in subsequent analysis can be obtained by means of applying pressurised digestion under microwave heating. The combination of HNO3 (conc.) and HF (conc.) in the volume ratio of 50 : 1 attacked the sample well enough, and good recoveries for all the metals studied were obtained. Surprisingly good results were obtained also when HNO3 alone was used as the digestion acid.
Ikävalko, E., Laitinen, T., & Revitzer, H. (1999). Optimised method of coal digestion for trace metal determination by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 363(3), 314-316. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002160051195