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Electrodynamic device "selFrag Lab" for selective fragmentation of solid materials

English title Electrodynamic device "selFrag Lab" for selective fragmentation of solid materials
Applicant Diamond Larryn W.
Number 121365
Funding scheme R'EQUIP
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.07.2008 - 30.06.2009
Approved amount 114'153.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Material Sciences

Keywords (6)

Electrodynamic fragmentation; disaggregation; mineral processing; pretreatment; dating; sample preparation

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Analytical techniques for solid samples have achieved impressive advances in the earth and materials sciences but sample preparation methods have lagged behind. Electrodynamic fragmentation is a new approach to preparation that redresses this deficiency and allows the analytical techniques to reach their full potential.Electrodynamic fragmentation is a means of selectively fragmenting solid materials (e.g. rocks, ceramics, concrete) into their component minerals, mineral inclusions or other materials. The method also increases the quality and quantity of separates from pre-processed rocks or composites. This state-of-the-art electrodynamic technique is more efficient than any electrohydraulic method. Controlled, variable discharges of up to 200 kV of very short duration (a few milliseconds) are applied to solids immersed in a dielectric, usually water. The resulting fine discharge channels and their accompanying shock waves disaggregate the solids along grain- or inclusion boundaries, or along physical inhomogeneities. Fragmentation by selFrag Lab is thus vastly more selective than conventional methods such as mechanical crushing, freeze-heat cycling or milling, during which individual grains are split or powdered. The selFrag Lab technique yields morphologically intact minerals, inclusions or fossils while minimizing production of undesired fines and dust and thereby minimizing cross-contamination.The electrodynamic fragmentation device "selFrag Lab" is worldwide the first instrument of its kind commercially available for laboratories. Having been involved in developing the prototype, the Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of Bern will now use the SNF grant to purchase and operate a modified selFrag Lab instrument, making it accessible to a scientists from research fields as different as Geology, Mineralogy, Material Science, Chemistry and Physics.During development of the selFragLab instrument we tested and evaluated numerous applications in different fields of research. Most of these applications showed considerable advantages over conventional separation methods. Among projects now underway at the Institute of Geological Sciences is the construction of containers to capture pore waters and gases separated from rocks or stalactites. Such applications and the potential to process very small and/or precious samples (meteorites, superconductors, diamondiferous kimberlites) will allow specimens to be prepared in completely new ways.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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