X-Ray Diffraction

The Stoneman X-Ray Analytical Facility houses two PANalytical X’Pert PRO instruments. These instruments are equipped with a spinning sample stage and an X’Celerator detector (strip detector). Different radiation for different materials is used i.e. Co-, Cu- or Fe- radiation.

We do analyses for Tertiary Institutions, Industry, Mining Companies, Construction Companies etc., or if you are just curious what is contained in a piece of rock or what mineral it is, you are most welcome.

What is X-Ray Powder Diffraction?

X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) is a rapid analytical technique primarily used for:

  • Phase identification of crystalline material, either single-phase materials or multi-phase crystalline mixtures (rocks, soils, inorganic compounds, etc.)
  • Quantitative determination of the amounts of the different phases in the mixtures using the Rietveld method.
  • Identification of fine-grained minerals such as clays and mixed layer clays that are difficult to determine optically.
  • Can provide information on unit cell dimensions and helps with determination of the crystal structure of minerals.
  • Amorphous content quantification by addition of a standard.
  • Retained Austenite and other solid metal pieces.

Other applications include

  • Non-ambient Stage: Samples (powder, paste, or foil) are analyzed at high temperatures in various atmospheric conditions. Operating temperatures depend on the heating filament used (graphite or platinum), but ranges from room 25º to 1600º C.
  • Open Eulerian Cradle for Texture analysis - pole figure mapping of texture.
  • Open Eulerian Cradle for Residual Stress & Strain analyses.


  • Training - Short course:
  • “Introduction to X-ray Powder Diffraction”. (organized by CE@UP). The short course will give an overview of the basic crystallographic concepts, principles and practical application of X-ray powder diffraction. Tips and pitfalls will be explained by examples.
  • Basic petrography in addition to XRD: Thin section description of rocks including visual estimation of grain size, sorting, porosity and mineral abundances.

Sample submission requirements

  • Routine XRD measurements require about 3-6 gram sample.
  • Please provide representative samples.
  • Clearly identify and label the samples.
  • Additional information about the sample could improve the quality of the results.
  • For external clients a purchase order is required.
  • Samples will be kept for 6 weeks after reporting results. If samples have to be retained for collection by the client, please inform us.
  • If special tests are required please specify.
  • Confidentiality will be kept in all interactions with the client.

More information

Prices: Please contact us for a comparative quote

Analyst: Awelani Moila

Telephone: 012 420 2722

E-mail: [email protected]

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