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Radioisotope-Excitation XRF Determination of Trace Elements in Marble

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The energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence technique was employed to determine quantitatively the concentrations of trace elements in 22 pieces of thick marble of various sizes from Portugal and Thailand, with the use of the radioactive sources Fe-55, Cd-109, and Am-241 in order to cover a wide range of elements. The reliability of the concentration determination was confirmed by employing two different methods which gave the same quantitative values of iron within experimental errors. The following trace elements were found to be present in varying concentrations: manganese (0-244 ppm), iron (110-4104 ppm), copper (14-64 ppm), zinc (0-665 ppm), arsenic (0-27 ppm), strontium (100-335 ppm), and yttrium (0-12 ppm). It was found that, besides iron, which is responsible for the staining or coloring of marbles, manganese can cause dark streaks and colored patches and has values as high as 244 ppm. With the use of iron, yttrium, and strontium in a triangular plot, the pieces from Portugal and Thailand, respectively, divided into two well-defined groups which are well separated from each other, showing that it is possible to identify the origin of the marble pieces.

Keywords: Marble; Trace elements; X-ray fluorescence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge, Singapore 0511

Publication date: March 1, 1993

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