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Sample Preparation Equipment » Mineral Preparation Thin Sections

Mineral Preparation Thin Sections


Petrography is the study of rocks and minerals using a microscope. Cross sections are useful for the identification of rocks, minerals and ores and to the characterization of properties such as cleavage, twinning, reflectance and so forth. There are three types of specimens prepared for petrographic analysis:

  • Thin sections
  • Polished thin sections
  • Polished bulk sections

Polished bulk specimens are very similar to metallographic specimens, in that both the surfaces are examined using reflected light microscopy. Thin sections are examined using transmitted polarized light. The technique for preparing these types of samples has changed significantly over the past few years, making it faster and more reliable.

The general procedures for the production of thin sections are as follows:

Sectioning, vacuum impregnation, grinding, cementing to slide, re-sectioning, grinding and polishing. The aim is to achieve an approximate thickness of 30µm.


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