The presence of airborne alpha quartz and other polymorphs of SiO2 is a health hazard of concern to all personnel working in underground mines and other dusty industries. Monitoring the alpha-quartz content of respirable dust is, therefore, important from an environmental standpoint. Such monitoring is currently done by filtering the dust from a given volume of air and analyzing the alpha-quartz content of the dust collected on membrane filters. A commonly used method of analysis involves removing the minute amounts of dust (about 5 mg or less) from the filter and determining the alpha-quartz content, usually less than 10%, by infrared analysis using the K Br pellet technique. The removal of dust as well as its pelletizing with K Br is a tedious procedure. We have investigated the feasibility of determining the alpha-quartz content of the dust directly on the filter by transmission infrared spectrometry. The first requirement of such an analysis is a filter that would transmit some of the incident IR beam energy in the region of the spectrum where alpha quartz has an absorption band suitable for quantitative analysis. Fortunately, alpha quartz has a large number of bands in the 1200-120 cm-1 spectral region. These and the complementary Raman bands are extensively discussed in the literature (1-5). In the present work we report on the analysis of alpha quartz deposited on filters.
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