X-ray diffraction (material identification)

Remove the mystery of solid materials – identify the composition quickly and accurately.

Powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) is used for the identification and characterisation of crystalline materials. PXRD is useful as a rapid analytical technique that provides a variety of structural information. This includes composition, crystal structures, crystallite size, strain and preferred orientation.

Commonly used in the production process, PXRD answers the question “What is this material in my production line” and “What are the minerals in this rock sample?” Any solid form, given it is crystalline, of a material is suitable for the successful execution of this test method.

The technique is particularly useful when developing new materials, or in research and development. PXRD is typically used in, but not limited to, the mining and building, pharmaceutical, battery manufacturing and nano-material industries.

There are a number of tests possible. A qualitative test will reveal the basic ingredients of a material while a quantitative test provides an accurate breakdown of ingredients. Semi-quantitative testing highlights the compounds of a material with an estimate on the relative amounts.

An important aspect to PXRD testing is that it is non-destructive, requiring only small amounts of material for each test – a minimum sufficient to cover a 5mm surface area will provide accurate results. A diffractogram is generated during testing that serves as a unique pattern (or fingerprint) to identify and/or quantify various phases within crystalline or semi-crystalline materials.

In-situ studies can also be performed on samples, making it possible to study how the material changes with temperature, and these tests can be performed up to 500 °C. Material is placed in the instrument and gradually heated, so it can be monitored through the temperature changes. Only solid materials are applicable for this test.

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X-ray diffraction

Qualitative analysis using EVA software of lead oxide which identified alpha PbO in the sample.

X-ray diffraction

Semi-Quantitative analysis using Topaz software of lead oxide identifying the amount of lead and lead oxide present in the sample.