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Crown ether functionalized silver nanoparticles for colorimetric detection of alkali earth metals in real boiler feed water samples

P. Sivakumar, S. Priyatharshni, S. Mohankumar, K. B. Nagashanmugam, R. Rajan, R. Lavanya, N. Prabhu, S. Ponnusamy, and G. Pradeesh

R&D Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Excel Engineering College (Autonomous), Komarapalayam, Namakkal, India



Received: 10 April 2023  Accepted: 31 July 2023


In the steam boiler industry, it is very important to use boiler feed water with high purity to ensure proper operation and efficiency of the boilers. However, most of the water resources in the earth’s crust are contaminated with the dissolved solids especially alkali earth metals. When boiler feed water contaminated with alkali earth metals is used directly in steam boilers, several problems occur to the boilers including scale and sludge formation, priming and foaming, caustic embrittlement and, eventually, boiler corrosion is observed. Therefore, it is essential to employ an analytical method to detect alkali earth metals in boiler feed water samples. In this study, highly specific 4’-aminobenzo-18-crown-6 (ABCE) modified Ag nanoparticles (Ag NPs@ABCE) have been developed for the detection of alkali earth metals in boiler feed waters. Deionized water, drinking water and tap water were tested as boiler feed water samples for the investigations with this functionalized Ag probe. The final result shows that the synthesized Ag NPs@ABCE probe can be used for detecting alkali earth metals in boiler feed waters with higher sensitivity and selectivity. The limit of detection (LOD) of Ag NPs@ABCE probe with Mg2+, Ca2+, Sr2+ and Ba2+ was determined to be in the low micro-molar range. The calculated LOD values strengthen the validity of the probe for colorimetric detection of divalent alkali earth metals.

Keywords: Ag NPs; Crown ether; Alkali earth metals; Boiler feed water; Colorimetric detection

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-023-03033-6


Chemical Papers 77 (12) 7933–7941 (2023)

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