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Posted: March 18, 2010
Malven's Mastersizer 2000 Used in Soil Texture Analysis
(Nanowerk News) Capturing all relevant data in just a single, short measurement, the Mastersizer 2000 particle size analyzer from Malvern Instruments is ideal for fully automated soil analysis. Recent research, published in an online application note, demonstrates that the Mastersizer 2000 delivers information that supports evidence-based analysis of soil texture. The publication describes a robust methodology and validation technique for the generation of accurate particle size distributions (PSDs) that quantify the amount of clay, sand and silt in a sample, enabling its classification according to well-established definitions. To view or download “Getting a feel for soil texture using the Mastersizer 2000” visit http://www.malvern.com/common/downloads/campaign/MRK1309-01.pdf.
Identifying soil for use in industries such as mining, construction and agrochemicals relies on robust characterization and classification techniques. Texture is a basic property used to determine if a soil is suited to a particular purpose. For example, nitrate retention levels, and therefore appropriate fertilizer usage rates, are related to soil texture. In the EU, soil designated for agrochemical use must be shown to be in line with EU classification criteria.
The Mastersizer 2000 is highly suited to soil analysis as it covers the wide particle size range required, from submicron clay to millimetre-sized sand. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the system to changes in the distribution is excellent as validation tests demonstrate. Measuring the size distributions of known mixtures of silt and sand highlights the ability of the Mastersizer 2000 to accurately report the relative proportions of each fraction, improving the precision of soil classification.
These advantages have led to the use of the Mastersizer 2000 for monitoring soil conditions across a network of sites in support of agriculture. Offering rapid, automated operation, the Mastersizer 2000 has standard operating procedure (SOP) driven operation enabling easy and reliable transfer of analytical procedures between instruments at different sites. This feature has already facilitated the system’s installation at 17 soil testing laboratories across Poland.