The production of commercial iron relies on the refinement of iron ore, a massive global undertaking; in 2021, 2.6 billion metric tons of iron ore were mined, which translates to ~1.6 billion metric tons of iron content. 90 % of extracted iron ore goes toward the production of steel, while the rest is used for a wide variety of other applications. This includes a number of battery materials, where iron is used due to its ready availability and ease of oxidation. Whether in traditional nickel-iron batteries or burgeoning technologies such as iron-air batteries and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathodes, iron plays a critical role in battery manufacturing and research.
Knowing the exact composition of iron ore can aid in refinement and subsequent purity determination of the final iron metal, which is vital for highly technical applications such as batteries, where purity can have a significant impact on performance. In this application note, a wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence (WDXRF) spectroscopy technique for iron ore analysis is described that minimises analysis time. Given the massive quantities of ore that are extracted and processed annually, it is vital that characterisation techniques are as efficient as possible, as even a minute of additional time can multiply exponentially at the quantities being discussed.
Thermo Fisher Scientific