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Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3258-3269; doi:10.3390/su2103258

Depth Profiling (ICP-MS) Study of Toxic Metal Buildup in Concrete Matrices: Potential Environmental Impact

1
Department of Chemistry, The Petroleum Institute, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Petroleum Institute, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
3
Al Husam Group, P.O. Box 2431, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
4
Department of Chemical Engineering, The Petroleum Institute, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
On leave from the Chemistry Department, Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2010 / Revised: 24 September 2010 / Accepted: 30 September 2010 / Published: 18 October 2010
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Abstract

This paper explores the potential of concrete material to accumulate toxic trace elements using ablative laser technology (ICP-MS). Concrete existing in offshore structures submerged in seawater acts as a sink for hazardous metals, which could be gradually released into the ocean creating pollution and anoxic conditions for marine life. Ablative laser technology is a valuable tool for depth profiling concrete to evaluate the distribution of toxic metals and locate internal areas where such metals accumulate. Upon rapid degradation of concrete these “hotspots” could be suddenly released, thus posing a distinct threat to aquatic life. Our work simulated offshore drilling conditions by immersing concrete blocks in seawater and investigating accumulated toxic trace metals (As, Be, Cd, Hg, Os, Pb) in cored samples by laser ablation. The experimental results showed distinct inhomogeneity in metal distribution. The data suggest that conditions within the concrete structure are favorable for random metal accumulation at certain points. The exact mechanism for this behavior is not clear at this stage and has considerable scope for extended research including modeling and remedial studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: concrete; seawater; toxic trace elements; laser ablation; environment; ICP-MS concrete; seawater; toxic trace elements; laser ablation; environment; ICP-MS
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Elkadi, M.; Pillay, A.; Fok, S.C.; Feghali, F.; Bassioni, G.; Stephen, S. Depth Profiling (ICP-MS) Study of Toxic Metal Buildup in Concrete Matrices: Potential Environmental Impact. Sustainability 2010, 2, 3258-3269.

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