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|Ceramics and Composites: XRD is used on a routine basis to
characterize ceramic components. The technique has been
used to characterize mullite in refractory bricks, types of silicon
nitride and various polymorphs of silicon carbide.
|Thin Films: Thin films deposited by various methods show
varying degrees of anisotropy. This information relating
preferred crystallite orientation (or texture) can be quantified and
evaluated by XRD methods. With certain thin film devices, the
direction and degree of preferred orientation of the film in
relation to the substrate can influence the functionality of the
|Biomaterials: Materials used in bone or dental implants contain
various types of inorganic and organic materials. They include
calcium sulfates in different hydration states and structural
modifications, hydroxylapatite, polyethylene and many others.
The nature and degree of crystallinity of these materials have a
profound impact on the behavior of the implants. XRD is an
indispensable tool to identify and characterize their nature.
Figure 1 shows diffraction patterns for a highly crystalline and
totally amorphous hydroxylapatite.
|Batteries: Lead acid batteries contain different lead
compounds. The types and amounts of these compounds vary
with the usage. It is often critical to characterize and quantify
these inorganic crystalline compounds. The phases quantified
include lead compounds usually present in fresh or cycled lead
acid batteries and they include lead oxides, tri- and tetra-basic
lead sulfates and lead carbonates.
|Pharmaceuticals: X-ray powder diffraction, in combination with
the whole pattern fitting Rietveld method, has been used
successfully to characterize and quantify several
pharmaceutical compounds including ibuprofen,
cyclophosphamide and many others. The technique has also
been used to quantify various polymorphic forms of
carbamazepine in a multi -component mixtures to with in 1-2
|Asbestos: Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber that can pose a
significant health hazard. Once airborne, the fibers can become
lodged in lungs. There are seven regulated types of asbestos
minerals including chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite and tremolite.
Their identity requires XRD along with microscopy (Optical
microscope and TEM).
|Polymers: Many polymers have some order and can be
identified and characterized by XRD. These polymers are, at
least in part, crystalline or pseudo-crystalline with partially
ordered structures. The percent crystallinity can be quantified
with XRD. This crystalline/amorphous ratio is related to
processing methods and is of much importance in polymer
industry. Figure 2 shows XRD patterns for polyethylene with
three different degrees of crystallinity.
|Soils and Clays: It is often important to characterize soils and
clays for their mineralogy. For example, in cosmetic or
pharmaceutical area, it is very critical to determine the presence
of bentonite or kaolinite in their formulations. In foundation
engineering or hazardous impoundment areas, it is essential to
know the presence of swelling clay minerals (such as bentonite
or montmorillonite) or reactive minerals such as pyrite (FeS2) or
gypsum (CaSO4) in a soil. XRD can be used to determine the
mineralogy of soils and clays.
|The type of materials analyzed by TM include: