X-RAY FLUORESCENCE SPECTROSCOPY (XRF)
XRF is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine a full range of light to heavy elements by pressed pellet or fused disc. Pressed pellet is a low cost test, suitable for large numbers of samples (usually ppm levels) where the matrix of the material is generally consistent. Good examples of this application are copper and nickel determination in Merensky, UG2 and Platreef mineralization of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa, or analysis of uranium hosted by siliceous rocks. Fused disc analysis involves fusion of the material into a borate glass disc for analysis of the major elements, covering ranges of 0.01 to 100% for many of these elements.
X-RAY DIFFRACTION (XRD)
Polycrystalline phases of a solid material are determined by X-Ray Powder Diffraction.
Angles of diffraction originating from a sample which is irradiated by a beam of monochromatic X-Rays, are measured and recorded by a diffractometer. Based on the originating pattern, a crystal can be identified and characterized. Our Laboratory hosts a database in excess of 150 000 crystalline phases. The minerals and crystalline inorganic phases that comprise a specimen can be identified by means of a computerised search/match system.
In addition, our quantification software, which is based on the Rietveld method of mineral and inorganic crystal quantification, provides standardless quantitative phase analysis.
INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA OPTICAL EMISSION SPECTROSCOPY (ICP-OES)
ICP-OES is one of the most versatile methods of inorganic chemistry covering large ranges from ppm to percentage levels of most elements. A variety of digestions are offered with this technique such as aqua regia (oxide, sulphide and carbonate material, but not silicates), four acid (provides a total dissolution of most elements except for a few such as Cr, V and Ti) and peroxide fusion (suitable if the non-soluble elements of the four acid digestion are required). Other dissolution techniques such as acid soluble copper (oxide copper) are also available.
INDUCTIVELY COUPLED PLASMA MASS SPECTROSCOPY (ICP-MS)
This technique is usually done in conjunction with ICP-OES and allows analysis down to lower ppm levels and sometimes ppb levels.
LECO, UV-VIS, CALORIFIC VALUE AND OTHER INSTRUMENTAL TECHNIQUES
These techniques are for analyses of carbon and sulphur, or chloride and cyanide.
WET CHEMICAL ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES SUCH AS TITRIMETRY AND GRAVIMETRY
When dealing with percentage levels such as mineral concentrates, Wet Chemistry is often the most accurate technique to offer. Examples are chromium, iron and manganese by titration, and silica gravimetric analysis.