Fluorescent Tracers for Dispersion Measurement

by Donald L. Feuerstein,
Robert E. Selleck,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1963, Vol. 89, Issue 4, Pg. 1-22

Document Type: Journal Paper


Laboratory tests on the behavior of the fluorescent dyes rhodamine B, Pontacyl Brilliant Pink B, and fluorescein in surface waters of variable quality indicate that Pontacyl Brilliant Pink B is the most suitable quantitative tracer. Pontacyl Brilliant Pink B and fluorescein demonstrate no physical adsorption on suspended solids indigenous to San Francisco Bay, whereas rhodamine B exhibits quite significant adsorption. The photochemical decay rate of Pontacyl Brilliant Pink B is 1/2 that of rhodamine B and 1/25th that of fluorescein. The use of fluorescein must be restricted to short-term studies in waters of only the highest quality, due to both its exceedingly high photochemical decay rate and natural background levels. Background levels of rhodamine B and Pontacyl Brilliant Pink B are sufficiently low, though significant, to permit their use as tracers in San Francisco Bay. The cost of Pontacyl Brilliant Pink B is appreciably higher than rhodamine B, but its use in most applications is believed justified for attainment of meaningful results from tracer studies.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Probe instruments | Laboratory tests | Adsorption | Bays | Decomposition | Dyes | Surface water

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