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Laboratory Facilities

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.
  • Microscope Work
  • Soil sampling, Geomorphology Laboratory
  • Pollen preparation, Palynology Laboratory

Malvern Mastersizer 3000 – Particle Size Analyser

Malvern Mastersizer 2000 – Particle Size Analyser

The Mastersizer 3000 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 3000 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 3000 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.
  • Report output can be given in sieve mesh sizes, phi numbers etc.
Queries on the use of the Mastersizer 3000 can be directed to Elaine Treacy, Chief Technical Officer (Specialist),