The NSS Bulletin - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 46 Number 2: 10-16 - October 1984

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Use of Optical Brightener and Direct Yellow Dyes for Water Tracing in the Inner Bluegrass Karst Region, Kentucky
Lawrence E. Spangler, Phillip E. Byrd, and John Thrailkill


Optical brightener and direct yellow dyes were utilized for water tracing studies in the Inner Bluegrass Karst Region, Kentucky. Cotton fabric detectors were employed for the adsorption of both of these dyes and were utilized for quantitative studies using a spectrofluorometer. Direct relationships between intensity, concentration, and exposure time were obtained from the analysis of optical brightener dye adsorbed onto cotton fabric under laboratory conditions. Relationships between these factors for direct yellow dye, however, yielded poor correlations. In addition, relationships between visual intensity, dye quantity, spring discharge, and length of trace showed weak correlations for optical brighener and no correlations for direct yellow dyes. Comparisons between visual fluorescence and instrument intensity of dectectors indicate that optical brightener dye may be detected analytically below visual methods, while direct yellow appears detectable visually as well as instrumentally to the lowest concentrations.

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