Aplicación de la técnica de espectrometría de fluorescencia de rayos-X en el estudio de la dispersión de metales en áreas mineras

One critical factor for success in characterizing metals polluting mining environments so as to be able to eliminate them and subsequently recover these areas depends upon a speedy and correct response in the analysis of samples. Rapid, simultaneous, multi-element analysis can be undertaken using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, a versatile, non-destructive analytical technique commonly employed to identify both major and minor elements in samples related to environmental studies. An additional advantage of this technique is the possibility of conducting the analysis directly on solid samples, which is extremely convenient when dealing with environmental samples that are difficult to dissolve, such as soils, sediments and mining wastes. Moreover, in recent years the development of spectrometers equipped with digital-signal processors combined with enlarged X-ray production, using better designs for excitation-detection, has contributed to an improvement in instrumental sensitivity, thus allowing us to detect important polluting elements such as Cd and Pb at trace levels. In this paper the authors describe, on the basis of their own experience, some interesting applications of XRF spectrometry for the analysis of several types of environmental samples related to the study of the dispersion of metals within mining environments: (A) analysis of mining wastes, soils and sediments; (B) analysis of samples of vegetation used as bioindicators or related to phytoremediation studies; and (C) analysis of water samples related to mining operations ​
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