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Monitoring of Industrial Waste Water


Development of an Automated System for Measuring Concentrations of Heavy Metals in Processing Solutions and Industrial Waste Water at Electroplating Facilities

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-MEA/Measuring Instruments/Instrumentation
  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
Ural State Economic University, Russia, Sverdlovsk reg., Ekaterinburg

Supporting institutes

  • VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Gesellschaft fur Umweltkompatible Prozebtechnik mbH, Germany, Saarbrücken\nUniversitaet des Saarlandes, Germany, Saarbrücken

Project summary

Modern requirements on the product quality and ecological safety of industrial technologies call for persistent rigorous control of both the composition of processing solutions at all stages of the production process and a quality purification of industrial waste water. Therefore, it has been topical to develop automated systems of continuous monitoring, which would ensure a wide set of test parameters, specifically concentrations of heavy metal ions, and an adequate accuracy of their determination. Stripping voltammetry (SV) represents an optimal method for measuring concentrations of ions of heavy metals. This is because its hardware is relatively simple and reliable, can operate under industrial conditions, and costs little as compared to equipment, which is used in other analysis methods. The SV method provides a high sensitivity, selectivity, and a wide spectrum of analytes.

At present SV-based automated systems are outfitted with metal mercury electrodes or mercury film electrodes with pre-deposited mercury films. Operation of these systems is connected with disposal of metal mercury or its soluble salts to the environment. This is a considerable drawback of such systems.

Project Objectives

1. Develop a technology for elaboration of ecologically safe automated analytical systems, in which traditional mercury electrodes will be replaced by unique long-lived carbon-containing electrode with replaceable surface. These systems will meet stringent requirements of the environmental protection and will measure reliably concentrations of ions of heavy metals (copper, lead, cadmium, zinc, nickel, etc.), pH, and the redox potential, providing a high accuracy in a short measuring cycle.

2. Use the developed approaches as the basis for creation of an analytical system for automated monitoring of processing solutions and industrial waste water at electroplating facilities, which will meet European standards.

The Project work will be performed by researchers and engineers employed at the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre – All-Russia Research Institute of Technical Physics (RFNC VNIITF) and Research laboratory of the Chair of chemistry at the Ural State University of Economy (RL USUE) in close collaboration with the Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry and Radiochemistry (IAARC, Saarland University, Germany) and the Institute for Environmentally Compatible Process Technologies (UPT, Saarland, Germany).

Our confidence in successful implementation of the Project objectives rests on:

– a close cooperation between the Russian group and the foreign collaborators presented by the Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry and Radiochemistry (IAARC) and the Institute for Environmentally Compatible Process Technologies (UPT);

– the experience gained by the Russian scientists in development of electrochemical analytical equipment for measuring concentrations of toxic metals in water (rivers and waste water) under the ISTC Project No. 342. First prototypes of automated systems for determination of heavy-metal concentrations by the SV method have been designed in terms of the said project;
– the long-term experience gained by the foreign collaborators (IAARC) in development of photometric flow-through analyzers;
– the high competence of the foreign collaborators (UPT) in membrane technologies. Solid-state membranes present interest for the proposed automated system, because they can eliminate mutual and interfering effects of components in test solutions. As is known, these effects strongly distort measurements made by electrochemical and photometric methods.

Distinctive features of the proposed analytical system include:

– the use of the unique long-lived sensor with renewable surface (long-lived electrodes), which was developed in terms of the ISTC Project No. 342, as the transducer of analytical information. Therefore, metal mercury and its soluble salts will be eliminated from the analysis altogether. These electrodes may be used in standard laboratory instruments and automated systems;

– built-in sample pretreatment units;
– remote control of collection, storage and transmission of analytical information;
– unattended operation for 1 to 3 days.

The system has the following advantages:

– express estimation of the composition of processing solutions and waste water at electroplating facilities under continuous mode;

– high sensitivity and selectivity;
– relative simplicity of equipment and maintenance; adaptability to technological equipment;
– unattended operation of the system and remote transmission of information;
– ecological safety (metal mercury and its soluble salts are not used);
– adaptation to European industrial standards.

The following tasks will be solved under the Project:

– optimize the production technology of the long-lived electrodes; develop and fabricate devices for their manufacture;

– adjust methods for measurement of ions of heavy metals (copper, lead, cadmium, zinc, nickel, etc.) to analysis of processing solutions and waste water at electroplating facilities;
– develop and debug the software;
– design and fabricate the prototype of the automated analytical system;
– perform laboratory and full-scale tests of the system using real samples. (It is planned that the system will be tested at automobile building enterprises and waste water treatment works in Saarland (Germany).

Results, which will be obtained during the Project work (measurement methods, the construction of the electrolyzer with a long-lived electrode and sample pretreatment units, designs of the hydraulic system, up-to-date flexible software, new circuit designs of microprocessor measuring units, results of laboratory and full-scale tests of real samples), will serve as the basis for development of a technology underlying creation of automated analytical systems for real-time monitoring of processing solutions and industrial waste water at various production facilities, and drinking and natural water.

The Project has a commercial significance since the international market badly needs equipment for remote monitoring of natural and disposal water, and also processing solutions.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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