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MEI Online: Analytical Techniques & Applied Mineralogy: Latest News: February 29th 2008


Click for more info on Process Mineralogy '20


:: Mintek Expands its Analytical Capability

Mintek's Analytical Services Division (ASD) has commissioned a new multi-channel X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyser, which will greatly improve analytical support for the group’s process development work and mineralogical investigations.

The instrument, an MXF 2400 from Shimadzu, Japan, is fitted with a 108-sample auto-sampler and is able to determine up to 36 elements simultaneously by the fixed-channels. It also has a scanning channel with a goniometer for elements from Ti to U (titanium to uranium) for the sequential determination of these heavy elements.

"The new instrument, the first of its kind in South Africa, brings an additional level of analytical capability to Mintek", said Dhiroshnee Govender, head of XRF and Mass Spectrometry. "The major benefit will be a much faster sample throughput. This will greatly improve analytical support for Mintek's process development work and mineralogical investigations, since the bulk of the solids analyses can now be done by XRF instead of by ICP.

XRF is well known for its accuracy and reliability, and is universally accepted as industry’s standard and preferred technique for solids analysis. Sample types analysed range from geological to process materials for the determination of major, minor and minor to trace elements.

The lower detection limits of elements determined by XRF is dependent on the analyte properties, the matrix of the sample and the properties of the instrument influencing detection limit. The MXF, however, offers improved lower detection limits as each channel has a unique curved crystal. Due to its use of a curved crystal in a unique channel the ‘whole rock method’ will offer very low parts-per-million (ppm) range detection limits. On a pressed powder pellet the lower detection limit of U3O8 is 2ppm and 10ppm (matrix dependant) on a 2.5x dilution-fused bead.

"The new instrument complements our existing energy-dispersive and wavelength-dispersive facilities", explained Govender. "The existing energy-dispersive instrument is ideal for providing quick semi-quantitative scans, while the wavelength-dispersive machine, which is extremely versatile but is a sequential instrument handling one element at a time, will be used for developing new analytical methods, which will then be set on the MXF," concluded Govender.




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