All courses will be held in parallel at the Montreal Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel.

Workshop on Sampling Solid Materials Instructor: Edgar F. Paski (ed@edpaski.com

Workshop objectives: To give participants an understanding of the critical influence of sampling on analytical results for geological, environmental, and agricultural materials. Participants will become familiar with the principal topics covered in the Eurachem / CITAC Guide: Measurement Uncertainty Arising from Sampling (2007) and be able to quantitatively estimate uncertainties arising from sampling operations.

What you will learn

  • You will become familiar with the various kinds of heterogeneity of solid objects.
  • You will gain an understanding of measurement uncertainty and the importance of sampling as a component of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis of solid materials.
  • You will gain an understanding of the fundamental causes of sampling errors.
  • You will gain a qualitative understanding of the complex behavior of granular materials during handling operations as well as in mixing, milling and splitting devices.
  • You will be able to assess different techniques for blending and subsampling particulate solid materials.
  • You will be able to calculate rough estimates of minimum sample size required for a given level of the fundamental error component of sampling uncertainty.

Who should attend: This workshop is designed for individuals engaged in the testing of environmental, agricultural and geological solid materials. The topics covered are relevant to laboratory personnel, quality assurance and quality control specialists as well as users of analytical measurements made on granular substances.

Workshop content

Introduction: Sampling and Variability in Solid Objects

Primer: Uncertainty and Sampling Error

  • What is measurement uncertainty
  • Uncertainty propagation in testing
  • The Seven Sampling Errors according to Pierre Gy

The Model: Pierre Gy's Sampling Model

  • The Horowitz Curve
  • Pierre Gy's Sampling Equation
  • Estimating Subsampling Variance

Central tendency         The Shewhart Chart

  • Establishing zones and limits
  • WECO, Nelson and Westgard rules for trends
  • Bias and measurement uncertainty
  • Practicum

The Material: Heterogeneity and Sampling Solid Substances

  • The Behavior of Granular Solids
  • Spontaneous Segregation in Granular Solids
  • Consequences for Splitting and Blending of Granular Solids

The Tools: Tools and Techniques for Sampling

  • Cusum for gradual drift
  • Devices for Sampling in the Analytical Laboratory
  • Sample Handling and Storage

The Techniques: Practical Sampling of Solid Materials

  • Physical preparation, e.g. drying, comminution, particle sizing
  • Sample division and compositing
  • Preparing a test sample from the laboratory sample
  • Extracting the test portion from the test sample


Ed Paski earned his B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Waterloo and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Paski has worked in industry and government in the areas of mining and mineral exploration, environmental chemistry, pulp and paper technology. He teaches courses in analytical atomic spectrometry, quality assurance and the assayer certification program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). He assesses testing laboratories to the ISO 17025 Standard for the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA). Dr. Paski's professional interests include: plasma spectrochemistry, sampling, chemometrics, automated chemical analysis, trace elements in geological and environmental materials, quality assurance, laser applications in analytical chemistry, multidimensional luminescence spectrometry, computer applications in analytical chemistry

Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Instructor: Henry Longerich (Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL A1B 3X5, Canada, henryl@mun.ca)

While the emphasis of this course deals with the fundamentals of laser ablation (LA) sample introduction into an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICPMS), this course will start with a personal early history of ICPMS, which I first discovered in 1983. Shortly after, in the spring of 1984, the first ELAN 250 instrument was delivered by the Ontario company SCIEX to the National Research Council of Canada, an Ottawa, Ontario laboratory. Just before Christmas in 1984, we installed the tenth commercially delivered instrument from SCIEX. A few years later, in 1989, we built our first LA system for applications emphasizing the micro analysis of development of both the ICPMS and later the LA systems, and a recommendation to look for the major advance in elemental and isotopic analysis, which is long overdue.

A discussion will follow concerning the ICPMS, which is a fundamental component of a complete (LA-ICPMS) system, including most importantly the detectors, system settling times, and the operator choices of data acquisition parameters. Understanding of these components of the ICPMS are essential for data interpretation, the production of quality results, as well as assisting a buyer in choosing among available commercial instruments, noting that some special considerations should be made when purchasing an ICPMS for LA applications. Details of LA systems in general, with a special detailed discussion on choices of lasers, laser induced elemental fractionation, and analytical detection limits will be included.