Screening Coarse Airborne Dust for Lead-Rich Phase Occurrence during Characterisation of Particle Mineralogy, Chemistry and Provenance: Application to Deposits in the Vicinity of an Integrated Steelworks
van Hoek, C.
van der Does, F.
van der Laan, S.
A method has been developed to screen large numbers (~103–104 per sample) of coarse airborne dust particles for the occurrence of Pb-rich phases, together with quantification of the particles’ mineralogy, chemistry, and inferred provenance. Using SEM-EDS spectral imaging (SI) at 15 kV, and processing with the custom software PARC, screening of individual SI pixels is performed for Pb at the concentration level of ~10% at a length-scale of ~1 µm. The issue of overlapping Pb-Mα and S-Kα signal is resolved by exploiting peak shape criteria. The general efficacy of the method is demonstrated on a set of NIST particulate dust standard reference materials (SRMs 1649b, 2580, 2584 and 2587) with variable total Pb concentrations, and applied to a set of 31 dust samples taken in the municipalities surrounding the integrated steelworks of Tata Steel in IJmuiden, the Netherlands. The total abundances of Pb-rich pixels in the samples range from none to 0.094 area % of the (total) particle surfaces. Overall, out of ca. 92k screened particles, Pb was found in six discrete Pb-phase dominated particles and, more commonly, as superficial sub-particles (sub-micron to 10 µm) adhering to coarser particles of diverse and Pb-unrelated provenance. No relationship is apparent between the samples’ Pb-rich pixel abundance and their overall composition in terms of particle provenanc.
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Environment & Sustainability
Minerals, 11 (11), 1-45