Abstract

Light scattering by individual particulates is used in a multiple-detector system to categorize the composition of suspended solids in terms of broad particulate categories. The scattering signatures of red clay and taconite tailings, the two primary particulate contaminants in western Lake Superior, along with two types of asbestiform fibers, amphibole and chrysotile, were studied in detail. A method was developed to predict the concentration of asbestiform fibers in filtration plant samples for which electron microscope analysis was done concurrently. Fiber levels as low as 5 × 104 fibers/liter were optically detectable. The method has application in optical categorization of samples for remote sensing purposes and offers a fast, inexpensive means for analyzing water samples from filtration plants for specific particulate contaminants.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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