X-ray computed tomography (XCT) is a non-destructive technique that allows the exploration of the internal structure of solid objects in 3D. Over the past ten years, the combination of XCT with more conventional 2D techniques and quantitative 3D image processing and analysis (commonly referred to as digital rocks) has allowed us to address some of the most challenging problems in ore deposit studies. The range of X-ray energies used in XCT allows the X-rays to be transmitted through complex and dense materials including iron ores (eg sinters, lumps, granules). Recent high-resolution XCT scanners have the ability to generate multiscale (25 down to 0.3 µm voxel size) imaging of a given sample enabling the characterisation of 3D textures across a range of scales. This paper will focus on the application of digital rocks to iron ore sinter particles (using filtered polychromatic X-ray beam). The paper is divided into three parts and includes: i) details on the methodologies including their benefits and limitations and the effect of spatial resolution; (ii) the quantification of pore network topology and pore characteristics (eg open versus closed pores, pore size distribution and pore morphologies; degree of connectivity of the pore network and its tortuosity); and (iii) the evaluation of the technique to characterise various phases within the material and quantify 3D mineral textures.
Godel, B, Ellis, B, O’Dea, D, Honeyands, T and Harvey, T, 2017. Digital rocks for iron ore sinters – towards a D quantification of sinter textures, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 529–534 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).