The Department has a range of laboratories suitably equipped for both:
- fundamental plant, soil and sediment analyses
- specialised ecological, palynological, meteorological, fluvial, hydrological and surveying work.
Malvern Mastersizer 2000 – Particle Size Analyser
The Mastersizer 2000 is an instrument designed to measure particle size. It measures particle size by laser diffraction which is based around the principle that particles passing through a laser beam of known wavelength will scatter light at an angle that is directly related to their size.
A particle size analyser such as the Malvern Mastersizer 2000 measures the angular distribution and intensity of the diffracted light by particles in suspension. Large particles will scatter light at narrow angles with high intensity whereas small particles scatter at wider angles with low intensity.
In the Geography Department the Malvern Mastersizer 2000 is used for measuring the particle size of soils and sediments. Laser diffraction is now widely used for analysing soil particle size and in the Geography Department the main standard operating procedure used follows methods outlined in Sperazza et al (2004).
Advantages of Laser Diffraction using the Mastersizer 2000
- 0.02-2000um size detection range
- Fully automated for ease of use. Designed to eliminate user-to-user variability and reduces training requirements for new users.
- Software-driven Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) eliminate user variability.
- Small sample size needed
- Short time of analysis 15-20 min per sample. Through the use of the Malvern Autosampler 2000 36 samples can be analysed in one run.
- Report output can be given in sieve mesh sizes, phi numbers etc.