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Silica Determination

Occupational exposure to respirable silica occurs in a variety of industries and occupations because silica occurs naturally in a wide variety of common materials and products. Many varied ill-health effects have been linked to exposure to respirable silica. SGS has the expertise, equipment and experience to provide the silica analysis you need to monitor the safety of your workplace and keep your staff healthy.  

SGS uses mineralogical test methods, including X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), to determine free and respirable silica. XRD provides rapid identification of minerals and reveals detailed information about the chemical composition and crystallographic structure of your samples. It is useful for identifying fine grained phases which are difficult to identify optically, by Scanning Electron Microscope/Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (SEM/EDS) or Quantitative Evaluation of Materials by Scanning Electron Microscopy (QEMSCAN™).

Quantitative XRD Determination of Free Silica (Alpha Quartz) – Bulk Sample

For this test, a bulk sample is analyzed and the percent free silica (as alpha quartz) is reported. The free silica content is calculated by comparing the major quartz peak intensities of the sample with that of a standard lithium fluoride (LiF) mixture.

Respirable Silica (Free Quartz) On Air Filter Cartridges

In the workplace, respirable silica is loaded onto a 25 mm, 0.5µm pore size silver membrane filter. This filter is located in an air filter cartridge in a respirator. The membrane filter is removed from the cartridge by SGS and submitted for XRD analysis. Two major quartz diffraction peaks are measured to avoid errors due to peak overlap. The amount of quartz present is calculated by comparing the normalized peak intensities of the sample with the peak intensities of known standards. A standard calibration is measured to ensure measurement quality.

SGS’s team of applied and process mineralogists have years of characterization experience. We have the equipment and expertise needed to conduct rapid, accurate silica determinations and a comprehensive quality control program. Partner with us to ensure your workplace is a healthy place.

Silica determination in the USA

The service in which you are interested is not currently available in the USA  However, SGS has two Advanced Mineralogy Facilities in Canada, one located in Lakefield, Ontario and the other in Vancouver, British Columbia that can assist you. Our laboratory in Lakefield has over 25 years of XRD expertise and is one of the few commercially available North American testing platforms for this technology.

Our XRD analysis is managed by professional mineralogists with years of characterization experience. 

Services provided include:

  • Clay and mineral identification
  • Geometallurgy and ore variability mapping
  • Silica and particulate determinations for industrial hygiene

Contact us to find out more.

Email us


SGS North America Inc.
Consumer and Retail

  • Fairfield Laboratory
    291 Fairfield Avenue
    Fairfield, New Jersey, 07004
    United States
  • t   +1 973 575 5252
  • f   +1 973 575 7175
  • e   Email us


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