Environment, Mining, Oil & Gas


• Studying in situ phase transformations in geological samples under extremes of temperature and pressure.


• Evaluating the performance and ageing of materials (e.g. metals and polymers) used for the storage and transport of petroleum

and petrochemical products.

Studying the structure and composition of meteorites and interplanetary dust.

Mineral and rock microstructural analysis to help evaluate

new mining opportunities and assess natural oil and gas reservoirs.

• Assessing environmental contamination, including identifying

extremely low concentrations of elements associated with the petrochemical and mining industries.

Real-time imaging of water flow in geomaterials, in concrete and for cooling applications in the nuclear industry.

•Characterising zeolites to improve oil catalytic cracking.

Phase and structure mapping of concrete mixtures during in situ


Studying emulsions to improve oil transport.

• Analysis of trace elements in petroleum and petrochemical products.

• Characterising rock fossils to improve the extraction of fossil fuels.

Elemental and speciation analysis of crude oil.

Chemical characterisation to improve waste management.

• Analysis of major components with <1% uncertainty and trace elements at parts-per-billion concentrations.



Large reserves of natural gas are held within an organic material called kerogen. Currently the gas can be extracted by hydraulic fracturing, but this is a controversial extraction technique. An international group of scientists studied different kerogen samples using X-ray scattering techniques. This allowed the scientists to develop molecular models of kerogen. These findings could open doors to improved extraction technologies.


Digital Rock Analysis

Digital Rock Analysis is a technique for extracting nanometre- to centimetre-scale geological and petrophysical information from digitised rock samples. Researchers from a company specialising in digital rock analysis used X-ray nano-tomography to scan rock samples at a 280 nanometre voxel size. The acquired images provided a level of detail that cannot be achieved using lab-based CT, and can be used to create 3D rock models that predict rock properties with a high degree of confidence.


Neutron Diffraction

In its quest to reduce CO2 emissions from aluminium production, a leading global mining group used neutron diffraction to observe the interactions of minerals and molten salts at high temperature (>800°C) over several hours. The industrial engineers are using the results to optimise their process parameters.