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Precise and accurate compound-specific carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of RDX by GC-IRMS

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A new analytical method is presented for the compound-specific carbon and nitrogen isotope ratio analysis of a thermo-labile nitramine explosive hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) by gas chromatograph coupled to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (GC-IRMS). Two main approaches were used to minimise thermal decomposition of the compound during gas chromatographic separation: programmed temperature vaporisation (PTV) as an injection technique and a high-temperature ramp rate during the GC run. δ15N and δ13C values of RDX measured by GC-IRMS and elemental analyser (EA)-IRMS were in good agreement within a standard deviation of 0.3‰ and 0.4‰ for nitrogen and carbon, respectively. Application of the method for the isotope analysis of RDX during alkaline hydrolysis at 50°C revealed isotope fractionation factors ε carbon = −7.8‰ and ε nitrogen = −5.3‰.
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Keywords: CSIA; RDX; isotope fractionation; thermo-labile compound

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel 2: Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Ben-gurion University – Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology, Sede-Boqer, Israel

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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