Direct Three-Dimensional Liberation Analysis by Cone Beam X-Ray Microtomography
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1997
Liberation of valuable minerals during size reduction is an important aspect of mineral processing technology. In practice, most quantitative information on liberation is based on the application of stereological theorems for the analysis of image data from two-dimensional polished sections. On this basis an estimate of the volumetric grade distribution is made. Recently, a new method based on cone-beam xray microtomography has been used for direct determination of the three-dimensional liberation spectrum of multiphase particles 100 microns in size or less. Preliminary results for a packed bed of particles indicate that high spatial resolution (approximately 15 microns) and the direct processing of raw volumetric data are two important benefits offered by this new method. Three dimensional liberation analysis by microtomography provides an excellent opportunity to overcome many of the limitations of currently used polished section techniques. For example, detailed textural information is provided. Of course microtomography provides an independent method to verify current procedures used for analysis and transformation of polished section data into an estimate of the volumetric grade distribution. More important, however, is the possibility that this method could be developed as a routine procedure for liberation analysis in the 21st century.