A scientist makes adjustments to scientific equipment used in materials analysis. Next to the equipment is a large glass case containing a number of tubes which hold samples for analysis.

Researchers use a sophisticated suite of materials characterisation techniques and tools.

Materials characterisation for the minerals and related process industries

Our research is complemented by a sophisticated suite of material characterisation techniques and tools.

  • 5 March 2010 | Updated 24 September 2012

Materials characterisation overview

Page 1 of 6

Our characterisation team combines industry-leading expertise with today’s most sophisticated technology and techniques to explore the physical, chemical, thermal and mechanical properties of a wide range of materials and ore types.

We work together with our partners from industry and external research organisations to deliver results that can solve complex processing issues, optimise material performance and add value to industries in Australia and throughout the world.

Our characterisation team combines industry-leading expertise with today’s most sophisticated technology and techniques.

Chemical analysis

From routine analysis to more complex problem solving, our team is recognised for its excellence in analytical chemistry. 

We apply a range of instrumental and traditional wet techniques to analyse a variety of sample types to help customers understand the chemical composition of their materials.


Microcharacterisation is used extensively on a wide range of minerals and materials to determine:

  • chemical composition
    A computer generated image with different colours used to indicate phase changes in an ilmenite concentrate extracted from a mineral sands deposit.

    Chemical phase map of an ilmenite concentrate extracted from a mineral sands deposit.

  • elemental distribution within a phase or phases
  • growth characteristics
  • phase abundance
  • structure classification.   

Our team of experts is well-supported by state-of-the-art laboratories that feature unique, ultra-high resolution electron microscopy and microanalysis capabilities.

We also offer an advanced TelePresence microscopy service at our laboratory in Clayton, Victoria. TelePrescence microscopy enables remote users to control any one of a number of instruments in the microbeam laboratory from their own computer - anywhere in the world.

Sophisticated, easy-to-use software applies internet technology to deliver streaming data and images to the user in real-time. With the assistance of an expert microscopist, users are able to view images, collect x-ray spectra and perform quantitative analyses efficiently and cost-effectively.

Particle analysis

Our accurate and rapid Particle Analysis Service has proven a key tool in optimising processes, maintaining quality control and improving material handling.

Our team has the experience and equipment to conduct analysis in our laboratories or on-site as required for optimum results.

X-ray diffraction

The facility has a long and successful history in applying x-ray diffraction (XRD) to understand the mineralogical changes occurring in complex processes.

The x-ray diffraction group has established and maintained an international reputation in the development and application of methods of quantitative phase analysis, and contributed significantly to standardisation of methodology.

Our unique approach to in situ XRD is well-recognised for its ability to investigate:

  • reaction mechanisms
  • kinetics of phase transformations
  • crystallisation
  • variations of crystallite size with time or temperature.