Mineral wool is mainly used for thermal insulation of building parts and of pipelines, as well as for sound absorbers. Iit consists of tiny mineral fibers with typical diameters between 6 and 10 μm. It is produced by spinning molten rock at about 1600°C. In order to obtain the final shape of the mineral wool product, an appropriate organic bonding agent is added to the fiber network.
The investigation of mineral wool using Micro-X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (Micro-XRF) in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) is especially promising through the combination of trace element and light element sensitivity with spatial resolution. This is demonstrated in this application example, where two types of mineral wool that have a very similar optical appearance are distinguished by their spectra. What is also shown, is that the excellent spatial resolution of the XTrace X-ray source supports the analysis of individual fibers.