Fragmentation

SELFRAG LAB – the first commercial High Voltage (HV) pulsed power laboratory equipment for selective fragmentation. Very short pulsed HV-discharges applied to solids under water cause the material to disaggregate along grain boundaries, inclusions or inhomogeneities. The highly selective fragmentation process of SELFRAG LAB liberates morphologically intact minerals while minimizing the production of undesired fines.

Zircon is an important mineral for dating in geoscience. It is used for different geochronological methods like U-Pb, (U-Th)/He and fission track. For these methods it is important to liberate morphologically intact zircons without inclusions in an adequate quantity. Conventional sample preparation often produces zircons of low quality at a rather low yield. In contrast the highly selective fragmentation process of SELFRAG LAB produces good quality zircons at relatively high yields. This is especially crucial for rocks, which include small amounts of zircons.

SELFRAG LAB processing is suitable and efficient for mineral separation from crystalline rocks for low temperature thermochronology such as apatite (U-Th)/He and fission track analysis.

The University of Alberta hosts the Isomass demonstration LAB which is available for demonstrations and paid processing of samples.  An example of the use of the LAB is shown in the poster by Ali et al., 2018, “The diamond potential of electronically-disaggregated eclogites from Roberts Victor, R.S.A.”  Hamdi Ali was supported in this work by the WISEST program at the University of Alberta.