Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used extensively in many industries ranging from aerospace engineering to automobile design. We applied CFDs to simulate flows inside vaporization chambers designed for micro- or nano-sample introduction into conventional, lab-based inductively coupled plasmas (ICPs). Simulation results were confirmed using smoke visualization experiments (akin to those used in wind tunnels) and were verified experimentally using an ICP-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) system with a fast-response photomultiplier tube (PMT) detector, an ICP-OES system with a slower-response charge injection device (CID) detector, and an ICP-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) system. A pressure pulse (defined as a momentary decrease of the optical emission intensity of ICP background) was not observed when employing widely used ICPs either with a CID detector or with ICP-MS. Overall, the simulations proved to be highly beneficial, for example, detection limits improved by as much as five times. Using CFD simulations as a guide, a rapidly prototyped, 3D-printed and smaller-size vaporization chamber (a scaled-down version of that used with ICPs) is being evaluated for potential use with a portable, battery-operated microplasma. Details are provided in this chapter.
Part of the book: Computational Fluid Dynamics