The Biogeochemical Laboratories at Indiana University have worked on stable hydrogen isotope ratios in natural waters and in organic matter for many years. Depending on the application, we use a variety of metals (Zn, U, Cr) to reduce water to elemental hydrogen. For quantitative production of hydrogen from microliter-quantities of water by use of a simple and inexpensive batch process, we recommend the use of zinc metal (Coleman et al., 1982). Pure zinc is unsuitable because it will not react with water quantitatively. Zinc with suitable characteristics had been available from BDH. As BDH zinc is not produced specifically for hydrogen isotopic analysis its characteristics in the application are unreliable. During the 1980's, privately funded research at Indiana University resulted in a proprietary method to prepare zinc turnings for rapid quantitative reduction of water to H2. Our "optimally contaminated" zinc, which we are calling "Indiana Zinc", is used in many dozens of laboratories worldwide. It has a long-standing track record of providing reproducible hydrogen stable isotope ratios (for example, see Schimmelmann and DeNiro, 1993). 

All batches of Indiana Zinc are thoroughly tested in our laboratory with VSMOW and SLAP isotope standard waters before being released. Indiana Zinc is a research material offered for use without guarantees and without acceptance of any responsibilities for damages arising from its use or possible failure in any application. It is not sold for profit and is distributed as a service to those engaged in geochemical and clinical research.

Coleman et al., 1982, Reduction of water with zinc for hydrogen isotope analysis, Analytical Chemistry, volume 54, issue 6, p. 993-995. []

Schimmelmann and DeNiro, 1993, Preparation of organic and water hydrogen for stable isotope analysis: effects due to reaction vessels and zinc reagent, Analytical Chemistry, volume 65, issue 6,
p. 789-792. []

For ordering Indiana Zinc contact:
Arndt Schimmelmann
Indiana University
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Biogeochemical Laboratories
1001 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-1405, USA

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 812-855-7645
Fax: 812-855-7899

Export of zinc to researchers outside of the U.S.A.:
Detailed and strict U.S. export regulations require us to obtain information from the prospective end users before shipping Indiana Zinc. Click here to download it. The customer should copy the questionnaire text on his/her institutional letterhead in a way that the official institutional seal, emblem, full name and address are clearly visible on top of the questionnaire. All questions must be answered with yes or no. The questionnaire must be signed, dated, and returned by mail, fax or pdf. We are prohibited by U.S. law from sending reference materials to certain countries.