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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 940413, 8 pages
Research Article

A Simple Approach for Measuring Emission Patterns of Vapor Phase Mercury under Temperature-Controlled Conditions from Soil

1Department of Environment and Energy, Sejong University, Seoul 143-747, Republic of Korea
2Korea Basic Science Institute, Seoul Center, Anamdong, Seoul 136-713, Republic of Korea
3Department of Energy and Mineral Resources Engineering, Sejong University, Seoul 143-747, Republic of Korea
4College of Environment and Applied Chemistry, Kyung Hee University, Yongin 449-701, Republic of Korea
5Analytical Science Division, National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington TW11 0LW, UK

Received 18 April 2012; Accepted 29 May 2012

Academic Editors: G.-C. Fang, A. S. Hursthouse, and W. Y. Wong

Copyright © 2012 Ki-Hyun Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In an effort to study the possible effects of climate change on the behavior of atmospheric mercury (Hg), we built a temperature–controlled microchamber system to measure its emission from top soils. To this end, mercury vapour emission rates were investigated in the laboratory using top soil samples collected from an urban area. The emissions of Hg, when measured as a function of soil temperature (from ambient levels up to 70°C at increments of 10°C), showed a positive correlation with rising temperature. According to the continuous analyses of the Hg vapor given off by the identical soil samples, evasion rate diminished noticeably with increasing number of repetitions. The experimental results, if examined in terms of activation energy (Ea), showed highly contrasting patterns between the single and repetitive runs. Although the results of the former exhibited Ea values smaller than the vaporization energy of Hg (i.e., <14 Kcal mol−1), those of the latter increased systematically with increasing number of repetitions. As such, it is proposed that changes in the magnitude of Ea values can be used as a highly sensitive criterion to discriminate the important role of vaporization from other diverse (biotic/abiotic) processes occurring in the soil layer.