Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Juan Navea


Metal ions are essential to maintain biological life.Transition metals, such as iron and zinc, are needed to ensure proper growth, development, and reproduction.The partially filled d orbitals determine the chemical properties of transition metals. The five orbitals of the d shell, regardless of what element, have the same shape and designation. This specific shape, an octahedron or tetrahedron, gives transition metals the ability to have variable oxidation states and form compounds with catalytic activity. Transition metals often participate in oxidation-reduction reactions, where the transfer of electrons is largely responsible for the biological significance, especially for iron (Fe). The different oxidation states of Fe, Fe2+, Fe3+, and total Fe, affect its ability to dissolve in acidic media. A source of iron dissolution into the environment are combustion particles in the atmosphere that partition down in precipitation. Little is known about the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on climate because they have different geographical factors, combustion sources, mineralogy, and physical characteristics. Hence, two combustion particles, lime kiln dust (LKD) and Lithuanian bottom ash (LBA), were investigated to further understand the effect pH has on iron dissolution from 1 to 4 and the mode of dissolution. The particles originated from similar fuel sources, so it was expected the composition will be similar, but not necessarily the speciation and dissolution. The quantification of zinc was also conducted using analytical techniques to improve previous methodology. Various techniques were considered, and through careful consideration, graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy was the preferred instrument. This improved method was then applied to biologically relevant samples to understand the role of Zn in cancer development.