Over the last decades, many studies have been conducted on rocks containing Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) to determine the potential health risks to exposed neighboring populations. It is difficult to accurately characterize the asbestos fibres contained within the rocks as conventional techniques are not effective and have drawbacks associated with the disturbance of the sample under study. X-ray synchrotron microtomography (SR-μCT) supplemented with polarized light microscope (PLM), scanning electron microscopy analysis combined with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS), electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA) were used for identifying asbestos fibres in a mineral matrix. As a case study, we analyzed a representative set of veins and fibrous chrysotile that fills the veins, taken from massive serpentinite outcrops (Southern-Italy). We were able to identify respirable chrysotile fibres (regulated asbestos) within the serpentinite matrix. SR-μCT of NOA veins achieved the resolution and reconstructed 3D structures of infill chrysotile asbestos fibres and other phase structures that were not resolvable with PLM, SEM or EPMA. Moreover, due to differences in chemical composition between veins and matrix, the data obtained enabled us to evaluate the vein shapes present in the massive serpentinite matrix. In particular, iron and aluminum distribution variations between veins and matrix induce different radiation absorption patterns thus permitting a detailed image-based 3D geometric reconstruction. The advantages of the SR-μCT technique as well as limitation of conventional methods are also discussed. These analytical approaches will be used for conducting future research on NOA of other minerals, which exhibit asbestiform and non-asbestiform habits within veins, including asbestos amphiboles.

X-ray synchrotron microtomography: a new technique for characterizing chrysotile asbestos

Bloise, Andrea
;
Punturo, Rosalda
2020

Abstract

Over the last decades, many studies have been conducted on rocks containing Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) to determine the potential health risks to exposed neighboring populations. It is difficult to accurately characterize the asbestos fibres contained within the rocks as conventional techniques are not effective and have drawbacks associated with the disturbance of the sample under study. X-ray synchrotron microtomography (SR-μCT) supplemented with polarized light microscope (PLM), scanning electron microscopy analysis combined with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS), electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA) were used for identifying asbestos fibres in a mineral matrix. As a case study, we analyzed a representative set of veins and fibrous chrysotile that fills the veins, taken from massive serpentinite outcrops (Southern-Italy). We were able to identify respirable chrysotile fibres (regulated asbestos) within the serpentinite matrix. SR-μCT of NOA veins achieved the resolution and reconstructed 3D structures of infill chrysotile asbestos fibres and other phase structures that were not resolvable with PLM, SEM or EPMA. Moreover, due to differences in chemical composition between veins and matrix, the data obtained enabled us to evaluate the vein shapes present in the massive serpentinite matrix. In particular, iron and aluminum distribution variations between veins and matrix induce different radiation absorption patterns thus permitting a detailed image-based 3D geometric reconstruction. The advantages of the SR-μCT technique as well as limitation of conventional methods are also discussed. These analytical approaches will be used for conducting future research on NOA of other minerals, which exhibit asbestiform and non-asbestiform habits within veins, including asbestos amphiboles.
Asbestos, Chrysotile, NOA, SR-μCT, Veins
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/296560
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