Effect of Using Different Chemical Dispersing Agents in Grain Size Analyses of Fluvial Sediments via Laser Diffraction Spectrometry

Mubarak Abdulkarim*, Haruna M Grema, Ibrahim H Adamu, Daniela Mueller, Melanie Schulz, Marius Ulbrich, Johannes M Miocic, Frank Preusser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Laser diffraction spectrometry allows for efficiently obtaining high-resolution grain size data. However, pretreatment and dispersion of aggregates in sediment samples are essential pre-requisites for acquiring accurate results using this method. This study evaluates the effectiveness of five dispersing agents in deflocculating the investigated fluvial sediments and the resulting grain size distribution obtained by laser diffraction spectrometry. We also examine the ability of the different dispersing agents to deflocculate sediment samples treated by thermal combustion. Distilled water presented a low efficiency in deflocculating the samples and yielded a near-zero clay content for samples with an expected clay content. The other chemical dispersants were effective in dispersing aggregates and yielding clay, albeit with different efficiencies. Calgon had the highest dispersing ability, followed closely by sodium tripolyphosphate. The performance of chemical treatment with sodium oxalate approaches that of sodium tripolyphosphate. However, it leads to the formation of precipitates in the samples, obscuring the actual grain size data. Sodium pyrophosphate derived the least amount of deflocculation among the four chemical dispersants. Furthermore, all the chemical dispersants were found to be ineffective in dispersing aggregates in samples treated by thermal combustion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
Number of pages13
JournalMethods and protocols
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29-Jun-2021

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