Investigation on Possible Contamination of Port Sediments by Means of ATRFTIR Spectroscopy and Thermal Analysis

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Technologies, Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences, University of Cádiz, C.P.11510, Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain

2 Laboratory LMVR, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, University Abdelmalek Essaadi, B.P. 416, Tangier, Morocco


This study proposes a method employing thermogravimetric analysis (TG) to predict pollution
levels by heavy metals (Cr, Cu, Ni, Zn, Pb, Cd and Hg) in port sediments close to urban and industrial sites
from bay of Cádiz. For this purpose, the thermogravimetric results of 14 sediment samples were recorded and
showed two characteristic ranges of temperatures (W1 as weight loss, %: 200-650°C) vs. (W2 as weight loss,
%: 650-900°C) as being representative of the sediment characteristics. Samples with a high W1 were characterized
by the prevalence of a thin fraction and high metal content, while samples with a high W2 were characterized
by large sandy fractions and, in general, low metal contents in agreement with the pollution load index (PLI).
Furthermore, Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) analysis proved to be an alternative tool for the
simultaneous detection of many components of sediments. Combined with TG, this technique allows for
simultaneous, rapid and reliable screening of pollution levels in port sediments.