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Hutton team declared best in the world in clay mineralogy

Hutton team declared best in the world in clay mineralogy
Professor Steve Hillier
"We are always looking to improve our methods and our participation in the Reynolds Cup has helped to keep us at the leading edge, internationally, of the development of quantitative mineralogical analysis of soils and rocks"

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute were named winners in a contest which is considered by some as the world championship in mineralogy. The results and the winners of the 2018 Reynolds Cup edition were presented at the Annual Clay Minerals Society meeting in Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Steve Hillier, Helen Pendlowski, and Dr Ian Phillips were awarded first place in the ninth international Reynolds Cup. The competition, named after Robert C. Reynolds for his pioneering work in quantitative clay mineralogy, was established in 2000 and is held biennially. It aims to promote and improve quantitative mineral analysis, this year there were 88 registrations from 28 countries with 73 organisations submitting results.

As part of the contest, organisers send three artificially prepared clay-bearing mineralogical samples to individuals in commercial, industrial, government or academic laboratories challenging them to obtain the most accurate quantitative mineralogical analysis by any method or combination of methods they choose.

The team at the Institute have a long and successful history in the competition, having won it in 2008. They have also gained great success in previous years achieving a top three spot in all but the 2010 contest; only because the previous winners traditionally prepare the samples for the following contest. After being crowned winners they will once again prepare the samples for the next competition in 2020.

Professor Steve Hillier said: “The X-ray diffraction team is very proud to bring the Reynolds Cup back to Aberdeen again.  We are always looking to improve our methods and our participation in the Reynolds Cup has helped to keep us at the leading edge, internationally, of the development of quantitative mineralogical analysis of soils and rocks.  We use the same methods in our academic research programme and they are also offered as a service to commercial customers, where we believe the quality of our data allows them to have more confidence in the business decisions they make.”

Professor Hillier’s work is aimed at developing methods for clay mineral quantification as a tool to understand the properties of soils, continuing a long and distinguished history of clay research at the James Hutton Institute. The James Hutton Institute also has a long association with commercial work connected with clay mineralogy since the establishment of the oil industry in Aberdeen.

The expertise in clay mineralogy at the James Hutton Institute is also central to the success of the short course 'Clay Mineralogy and its application to the oil industry'. This course is designed primarily for oil and gas industry staff to help them understand the nature, properties, behaviour and occurrence of clays in the context of hydrocarbon exploration and production, though previous participants from many industries where clay is important have attended. Via a hands-on approach in the laboratory delegates are taught how clay minerals can be identified and characterised using the primary analytical techniques of X-ray powder diffraction, infrared spectroscopy and electron microscopy.  The course will run again in October 2018, more information available here.

More information from: 

Adam Walker, Communications Officer, James Hutton Institute, Tel: 01224 395095 (direct line), 0344 928 5428 (switchboard).


Printed from /news/hutton-team-declared-best-world-clay-mineralogy on 13/12/18 03:21:13 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.