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X-ray Diffraction (XRD) provides rapid identification of particulate materials, clays and other minerals. It yields detailed information about the crystallographic structure of your samples that can be used to identify the phases present. XRD is especially useful for identifying fine gained phases which are difficult to identify by other methods such as optical microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscope/Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (SEM/EDS) or Quantitative Evaluation of Materials by Scanning Electron Microscopy (QEMSCAN™).

In the past, XRD was typically used to determine bulk mineral assemblages in rocks, clays, ores, particulates and metallurgical products. It provides a semi-quantitative method for determining the normative or weight percentages of the phases present, including the fraction of each mineral phase that occurs in your samples.

Now, with the use of Rietveld (RIR analysis) quantification methods and powerful computers, quantitative XRD data can be obtained. Modern high-speed detectors allow rapid data collection on large numbers of samples and whole pattern cluster analysis is used to differentiate sample populations.

SGS uses powder diffractometers, modern computer software and an extensive mineral database to identify the experimental diffraction patterns collected from the samples.

For standard XRD analysis, sample preparation is routine and data is acquired efficiently and accurately. XRD analysis is performed on a pulverized sample and it is an easy way to obtain mineralogical data for chemical analysis.

Qualitative XRD Analysis

All phases identified by XRD analysis are reported and grouped into major (>30%), moderate (10-30%), minor (2-10%) and trace (<2%) amounts. Identification and classification of abundance are based on relative peak heights and mineral crystalline structure.

Semi-quantitative XRD Analysis

All minerals identified by X-ray Diffraction analysis are reported and grouped into major (>30%), moderate (10-30%), minor (2-10%) and trace (<2%) amounts. In addition, mineral abundances (in weight %) generated by RIR (or Rietveld) XRD analysis are reconciled with a whole rock analysis and reported.

Mineral Speciation

XRD can determine the specific mineral phases present in a sample. SGS provides specialized speciation analysis to determine:

  • Clay mineralogy
  • Free silica vs respirable silica

Systems such as XRD are mere tools – High Definition Mineralogy is the product. SGS is the industry leader in High Definition Mineralogy for the global minerals industry and other market sectors that need detailed material, product or residue characterizations. SGS mineralogy experts ensure a quality product and, from grassroots exploration to production support, provide significant interpretive value.