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Effects of storage method on sulfur compounds

It is known that sulfate and sulfide may undergo degradation during storage under atmospheric conditions (Hawkins and Pinches,1987; Sandover and Norbury,1993).

As part of this project, three materials of varying sulfur mineralogy were tested by storage under six different conditions.The samples were oven dried at between 50-60degreesC and ground to a powder.The samples were sub-sampled after 14,44,82,112,180,241 and 346 days so that changes in sulfur speciation could be monitored.The storage conditions were:

Laboratory atmospheric conditions at 20degreesC l Zero humidity, in a dessicator cabinet l Constant refrigerated conditions at 4degreesC l Constant 60degreesC in a fan assisted laboratory oven l Saturated controlled atmospheric conditions, at 90-95% relative humidity and 20degreesC l Incubated conditions at 34degreesC and 55% relative humidity The results showed a loss of total reduced sulfur (STRS) and gain in acid-soluble sulfate-sulfur (SASS) for the samples stored under humid and incubated conditions for all three materials tested (Figure 3).Less marked changes were also noted in the samples stored under standard laboratory conditions for two of the materials.A drop in the carbonate content was also recorded in these two materials.Small changes were recorded in the case of the oven-heated sample.The samples stored in the refrigerator and the dessicator showed little or no change in the forms of sulfur.

Storage at 0-4degreesC is recommended for all samples on which tests for sulfur compounds are to be performed.

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