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INTEGRATED MATERIALS ANALYSIS

PMET's unique position as a process development and laboratory services company results from its novel application of Integrated Materials Analysis (IMA) to materials analysis and the solution of materials processing and environmental problems.

While standard chemical analysis only provides the bulk elemental composition of a material, IMA uses a matrix of analytical techniques.  A combination of qualitative and quantitative x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and chemical analysis can:
  • Identify and quantify the compound species present,


  • Determine the form and physical characteristics of each species,


  • Establish the physical and chemical characteristic of the matrix, and


  • Pinpoint the interactions occurring among the species and the matrix.

  BULK
CHEMICAL
ANALYSIS
IMA

  Element Content Yes Yes
  Compound Species No Yes
  Compound Content No Yes
  Matrix Form No Yes
  Species Interactions No Yes
  Species/Matrix Interactions No Yes


Armed with IMA results, PMET can determine "how a material is put together".  This leads to alternative strategies for "how to take it apart" and "how to put the components back together, or combine them with other materials" to produce useful and valuable products.

Integrated materials analysis is the key to PMET'S success in finding safe, cost effective answers in the areas of Mineral and Metallurgical Processing, Waste Stream Management, and Conversion of Industrial and Hazardous Wastes to commercially viable products, as illustrated in the following case history.


PROBLEM:   Base Metal Slag
A materials broker faced with disposal of large quantities of a hazardous slag at a cost of $200 per ton requested PMET to perform treatability studies designed to develop procedures for reducing waste volume while eliminating heavy metal leaching.


SOLUTION:  


Recovered Gold
Integrated Materials Analysis (i) revealed that the slag contained in excess of three ounces of gold per ton, (ii) determined the relationship between the gold and the matrix, and (iii) provided the basis for determining the preferred recovery process. Instead of a being a hazardous waste requiring disposal, the material was determined to be a recyclable raw material for gold production worth $900 per ton. Based upon the net cost differential of $1,100 per ton, the potential savings to the client was approximately $8 million.