Environmental Chemistry Laboratory

At the Laboratory, experimental research and environmental chemical analyses are conducted within the fields of applied materials, water and soil chemistry and science. The Laboratory comprises several laboratories and compartments, as well as instrument rooms and other types of function rooms such as cleaning and weighing rooms. It also contains more advanced analysis instruments such as laser ablation ICP-MS, GC-MS, GC-TCD, HPLC, IC and TOC/DOC/TN.

Contact: Research Engineer Mona Pålsson, GeoEngineering, Associate Professor Ann-Margret Strömvall, Water Environment Technology.

Ann-Margret and Mona are also in charge of flammable goods at the Department of civil and environmental engineering.

Visitor’s address: Sven Hultins gata 8, upper ground floor. 

Environmental Chemistry Laboratory

The Environmental chemistry laboratory at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is owned jointly by the Divisionsof Water Environment Technology and GeoEngineering. Since 2002 we have been accommodated in bright new premises on the upper ground floor in the Civil and environmental engineering’s research building. Visitor’s address: Sven Hultins gata 8.
You are welcome to visit us!

Notification of assignments/enquiries
Notification of chemical work/assignments to be carried out in the Laboratory’s premises, which require staff time or use of equipment, must be sent via e-mail to the address given below. Please note that this is the official channel for assignments in the Environmental chemistry laboratory, and that notified jobs will be given priority over non-notified ones. Chemical work refers to work with chemicals and chemical analysis instruments. Urgent assignments can be given priority in some cases after discussion with the responsible staff. So please provide notification in good time! This makes life easier for staff and often leads to better results than rushed projects.

Send your enquiries to: mona.palsson@chalmers.se
Mona Pålsson, Research Engineer, tel. +46 (0)31 772 20 56 (GeoEngineering)
Ann-Margret Strömvall, Associate  and Scientific leader of the Environmental chemistry laboratory, tel. +46 (0)31 772 86 00 (Water Environment Technology)

Booking of instruments and laboratories
In the first instance, instruments should be booked via the relevant instrument supervisor, while premises are booked via the laboratory supervisor. Please note that instruments and premises can often be booked up for long periods of time, so try and book well in advance wherever possible. Bookings are made via a member of staff or directly via the respective instrument supervisor.

Materials, chemicals and other purchases/orders go in the first instance via Mona Pålsson. Please note that we can often reduce costs by coordinating our orders, so long-term planning is desirable.

Our main instruments and equipment

Ion chromatograph
The Laboratory has two ion chromatographs with conductivity detectors for analysing anions and cations, as well as an autosampler accommodating 50 samples. For more information, contact the instrument supervisors.
Instrument make: Dionex
Instrument supervisors: Oskar Modin and Enikö Szabo
Liquid chromatograph
The Laboratory has a liquid chromatograph equipped with a UV detector and an RI detector, a column oven, an autosampler, a gradient pump and an extractor fan. For more information, contact the instrument supervisors.
Instrument make: Shimadzu
Instrument supervisors: Oskar Modin and Soroush Saheb Alam
The aboratory has two potentiostats. A series G750 from Gamry with software for electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and physical electrochemistry, as well as a MLab500 from Bank IC.
Instrument make: Gamry and Bank IC
Instrument supervisor: Oskar Modin
Test equipment: Bio-electrochemical reactors
The Laboratory has several bio-electrochemical reactors of varying designs made of Plexiglas. 
Supervisor: Oskar Modin
Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)
ICP-MS uses a plasma as the ion source for mass spectrometry analysis. The samples are injected into this plasma at a temperature of about 5,000 K. They are atomised in the plasma and the atoms are subsequently separated in a mass spectrometer. A collision cell allows us to separate the most important polyatomic interference sources in the ICP-MS.
The ICP-MS is used to analyse elements at concentrations from a low ppt level to the ppb level. At WET, we mainly use ICP-MS to analyse environmental samples (water, sediment, soil, biological samples, etc.) as well as more polluted samples (soil, leachate).
Instrument make: A new instrument will be arriving in November 2013
Instrument supervisors: Sebastien Rauch and Jesper Knutsson
Laser Ablation - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS)
In laser ablation technology, a solid sample is introduced into an ICP-MS instrument after being ablated with a pulsed laser beam in a chamber under a flow of argon gas. In this way, parts or small fragments of the sample are detached from the mass within a very well-defined region and are then carried via the gas flow into the instrument for determination. Laser ablation technology permits the sample composition to be determined at various surface and depth sections of a solid-phase sample mass.
Instrument make: Cetac laser system
Instrument supervisors: Sebastien Rauch and Jesper Knutsson
GC-MS for semi-volatile hydrocarbons
GC-MS can be used after organic extraction of water, soil or sediment samples to analyse the content of semi-volatile organic substances in the sample. The instrument is used mainly to analyse pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and alkylphenols in water, soil and sediment samples.
Instrument make: Varian GC 3800 and MS Saturn ion trap 2200
Instrument supervisors: Ann-Margret Strömvall and Karin Björklund
GC-TCD for gas analyses
This gas chromatograph with a thermal conductivity detector is used to analyse H2, CH4 and CO2 in gases.
Instrument make: Varian 3400
Instrument supervisor: Oskar Modin
Microwave oven (MARS-5)
A laboratory microwave oven with programming options and pressure and/or temperature control housed in a container made of acid-resistant Teflon.
Make: CEM MARS 5
Instrument supervisors: Mona Pålsson and Jesper Knutsson
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOC)
The TOC is used for water samples of various types, as a rule for determining the total organic carbons or total nitrogen. The instrument is equipped with a platinum catalyser and the sample is incinerated at about 720°C, after which the CO2 formed is detected in an NDIR detector. The TOC may be used to measure NPOC, TC, IC, TOC and TN.
Make: Shimadzu
Instrument supervisors: Oskar Modin and Britt-Marie Wilén
This centrifuge develops a maximum centrifugal force of 4,000 G and can handle samples up to 500 ml.
Make: Sigma 4 -16 supplied by LABEX
Instrument supervisors: Frank Persson and Karin Karlfeldt Fedje
Analysis scales
The Laboratory is equipped with sensitive analysis scales with an accuracy of 0.01 or 0.1 mg. They are located in a room specially designed to minimise disturbances in the form of draughts and temperature changes. The scales are placed on a stone base to stop vibrations propagating from the floor and disturbing the weighing procedure.
Make: Sartorius
Instrument supervisor: Mona Pålsson
Milli-Q (de-ionised water)
This apparatus supplies pure water of the highest purity class. It has a resistivity of >18.2 MΩ and an organic carbon content < 10 ppb. So the water is essentially free of ions and dissolved substances such as metals, anions and organic material.
Make: Millipore
Instrument supervisor: Mona Pålsson
High-temperature oven
This oven can be heated up to 1,200 ºC and is used to ash samples, flame-clean analysis equipment etc.
Make: Carbolite furnaces
Instrument supervisor: Mona Pålsson
Hydraulic flumes
The lab is also equipped with two flumes for hydraulic tests. They are used mainly for training, in order to study flow phenomena. The flumes are about 6 metres long.
Make: Armfield
Instrument supervisors: Mia Bondelind and Thomas Pettersson


Automatic water samplers ISCO 3700/6700/6712
We have three samplers which can be programmed to take time-controlled, precipitation-controlled or flow-controlled samples. ISCO 3700 is a compact model with 24 plastic bottles each of 0.5 litres. ISCO 6700 and 6712 are two samplers of standard size, each of which can be equipped with 24 1-litre plastic bottles or 12 glass bottles of 0.9 litres. The samplers can be connected to flow meters, v-h probes (for pipe dimensions of about 300 mm – 1,000 mm) or bubble tube meters with v-notch flow-meter inserts (for pipe dimensions of about 100-200 mm). The precipitation meters can also be connected to the samplers. The samplers can be operated at 220 V AC or 12 V DC (standard car batteries in forest areas or other locations without an electricity supply).
All samplers are equipped with logs for data storage as well as dial-up modems for on-line data transfer.
Instrument supervisors: Thomas Pettersson and Ekaterina Sokolova
The Laboratory has two spectrophotometers, an older (ATI UNICAM) one and a Shimadzu.
  1. Spectrophotometer with D2/tungsten lamp for wavelengths between 190 and 1,096 nm.
    Make: ATI UNICAM
  2. Spectrophotometer with a UV-VIS lamp, a double beam and a bandwidth of 1 nm for wavelengths of between 190 and 1,100 nm.
Instrument supervisors: Britt-Marie Wilén and Frank Persson


Particle counters
These particle counters can measure the number of particles in the water phase as well as their size (mean diameter) in an interval of 1-300 μm. Measurement is performed via light blocking.
Make: MetOne
Instrument supervisor: Jesper Knutsson
SPE and Soxhlet for organic extractions
To analyse organic substances in water, we have equipment for organic extraction methods such as solid phase extraction (SPE) for columns or discs. To analyse organic substances in soils, sediment and materials, we use Soxhlet extractions with solvents.
Equipment supervisors: Ann-Margret Strömvall and Yuliya Kalmykova
Equipment for sorption and leaching tests
We have equipment to carry out sorption and leaching tests in the lab and in the field. These tests can be run in batch mode or using standard and larger pilot columns.
Equipment supervisors: Yuliya Kalmykova and Ann-Margret Strömvall
Field equipment and field methods
We also have samplers for water and sediment, field instruments for simpler measurements and analyses, Hach instruments and Hanna methods for chemical analyses in the field.
Equipment supervisors: Jesper Knutsson and Mona Pålsson
Lab-scale reactors made of Plexiglas
We have five column reactors each of 3 litres (height 120 cm; Ø 6 cm) equipped with inlets, outlets as well as aeration equipment operating from the base. The columns are equipped with peristaltic pumps for inflow and outflow (Heidolph) as well as a small dosing pump with three channels (Watson-Marlow). Three refrigerators are connected to the reactors for storing the inflows in the form of waste water or similar. The reactors are connected to data logs for pH sensors (Picotech), which are in turn connected to a computer for data processing.
Equipment supervisors: Britt-Marie Wilén and Enikö Szabo
Equipment for oxygen measurement
We have three oxygen meters adapted to the measurement of waste water (Cerlic) with an associated control box (BB2).
Instrument supervisors: Britt-Marie Wilén and Enikö Szabo

Published: Tue 02 Jul 2013. Modified: Mon 18 Apr 2016