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The analytical techniques that are normally utilized to determine the concentration of sulfur in geologic materials can be divided into bulk analytical methods that require sample powders and microanalytical methods done in situ. The most common method of bulk sulfur analysis is accomplished using combustion methods followed by detection of SO2 in an infrared cell. A similar method involves an elemental analyzer coupled to a mass spectrometer where the mass 64 ion beam is monitored and compared to a standard. X-ray fluorescence is another method of bulk powder analysis that is well established for the determination of sulfur in coal and plant materials, but is only rarely used for the analysis of rocks due to a relatively high detection limit and difficulties with sample fusion. Micro-analytical techniques normally involve individual minerals or glasses. The most commonly used method is electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), but ion microprobe (SIMS) and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) methods are useful for some samples. Nuclear methods of sulfur analyses are useful for some materials largely because of their very low detection limits. A relatively new technique is the application of LA-ICP-MS to determine the concentration of sulfur in fluid inclusions contained within glasses and minerals.
In this chapter we review how these methods may be used to measure the concentration of sulfur in a variety of geologic materials. We emphasize the types of materials that can be analyzed, sample preparation, standardization techniques, detection limits and uncertainties that are associated with each of the methods. Elsewhere in this volume, the determination of sulfur species in glasses is discussed (Chapter 2 -- Wilke et al. 2011) and methods of isotopic analyses are treated (Chapter 15 -- Marini et al. 2011).
Total sulfur concentration in minerals, rocks and glasses using elemental analyzer – infrared absorption technology
Automated, high-temperature combustion, carbon-sulfur analyzers utilize solid state infrared (IR) absorption for the …