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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

An investigation of Re and Os contamination by materials used in rock and mineral powdering

Jie Li, Jing-Jing Fan, Sheng-Ling Sun, Jing Zhang, Hong-Yan Li
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 54, No. 6, P. 421-426, 2020


Elemental and isotopic analyses of geological samples require several sample-preparation steps that can introduce contamination and result in analytical inaccuracies. In this study, the influence of different materials used as rock and mineral powdering equipment (agate, stainless steel and tungsten carbide) on Re-Os contents and Os isotope ratios was evaluated by crushing quartz sand with variable pre-powdering grain sizes (2–4, 6–10, and 8–16 mesh). Rhenium-Os contents were least affected by crushing in agate, and increased by up to one and two orders of magnitude after crushing in stainless steel and tungsten carbide, respectively. Osmium contamination is affected by the duration of powdering, whereas this is not the case for Re. 187Os/188Os ratios decrease due to contamination. Agate powdering equipment is optimal for sample preparation for Re-Os concentration and isotopic analysis. Moreover, a small pre-powdering grain size (8–16 mesh) can reduce contamination.


Keywords: rhenium, osmium, sample grinding, agate, stainless steel, tungsten carbide, contamination

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