1992-07-01

Evaluation of Capillary Electrophoresis for In-flight Ionic Contaminant Monitoring of SSF Potable Water 921268

Until 1989, ion chromatography (IC) was the baseline technology selected for the Specific Ion Analyzer, an in-flight inorganic water quality monitor being designed for Space Station Freedom. Recent developments in capillary electrophoresis (CE) may offer significant savings of consumables, power consumption, and weight/volume allocation, relative to IC technology. A thorough evaluation of CE's analytical capability, however, is necessary before one of the two techniques is chosen. Unfortunately, analytical methods currently available for inorganic CE are unproven for NASA's target list of anions and cations. Thus, CE electrolyte chemistry and methods to measure the target contaminants must be first identified and optimized. This paper reports the status of a study to evaluate CE's capability with regard to inorganic and carboxylate anions, alkali and alkaline earth cations, and transition metal cations. Preliminary results indicate that CE has an impressive selectivity and trace sensitivity, although considerable methods development remains to be performed.

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