Abstract

A knowledge of the composition of atmospheric particulate matter is essential in the evaluation of health hazards from such contaminants. This may require the analysis of very small amounts of material collected from the air or the analysis of the source material of which large samples can be obtained. Owing to the small sample available and the complexities of these materials, ordinary methods of analysis are difficult and time-consuming. However, the x-ray and spectrographic techniques are particularly applicable to complex mixtures and require very small samples. In order to use these procedures it is necessary to have means of thoroughly mixing the very small sample with an internal standard, and also to have a sampling procedure which permits obtaining a very small portion which is representative of a large amount of material. This report describes methods which have been developed by the Bureau of Mines for obtaining small, representative samples and for mixing such samples intimately with an internal standard. The final mixing of the sample with the internal standard is carried out either in a small, specially designed ball mill or in a motor driven mortar and pestle. Precautions necessary in handling these small amounts of material are presented. Commonly used apparatus such as the Diamond mortar, ore grinder, and riffle are used in obtaining a representative sample. The method, while designed primarily to facilitate the evaluation of the health hazard associated with dusty atmospheres in the mineral industry, should have applications in other fields where the analysis of small amounts of material is necessary.

© 1943 Optical Society of America

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