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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The preparation of lead tetrmethyl for mass spectrometer analysis Ulrych, Tadeusz Jan


This thesis is concerned with the problems of sample preparation arising in the study of lead isotope abundances. The importance of this study to geophysics has been amply shown by R.D. Russell, R.M. Farquhar, F.G. Houtermans, J.T. Wilson, H.F. Ehrenberg and many others. Chapter 1 gives an outline of lead isotope measurement techniques, including types of mass spectrometers generally used and some of the problems encountered. The mass spectrometer used in the present research was designed and constructed by R.D. Russell and F. Kollar and descriptions of it will be found in their publications and in F. Kollar's Ph.D. thesis. The present techniques of producing lead tetramethyl for isotopic analysis from ore samples are discussed in Chapter 2. The remaining chapters deal with the purification of lead tetramethyl for mass spectrometer analysis, using vapour phase chromatography. This technique has found immediate application in the precise intercomparison of lead samples recently carried out in the Geophysics Laboratory at the University of British Columbia by F. Kollar and others (F. Kollar, R.D. Russell and T.J. Ulrych, in press). The long range object for developing this technique is to purify lead tetramethyl prepared by free methyl radicals reacting with metallic lead (cf. A.J. Surkan 1956) prior to isotopic analysis. The presence of impurities in samples prepared this way has discouraged the development of this method in the past. The final chapter deals with this aspect of the proposed problem. This thesis is intended as a preliminary to the writer's Ph.D. research which will also deal with isotopic lead analysis.

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