Are there any mineral identification techniques that work for all minerals(non-metallic/metallic), so that an electronic device could be made to distinguish between all minerals?

  • $\begingroup$ Could you clarify what you are asking? $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @aretxabaleta I want to make a electronic engineering project with my development board which identifies minerals, and different types of minerals are identified in different ways. Is there a mineral identification technique that works for all mineral ? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ Terraspec Halo Mineral Identifier uses a spectrometer. Used by mining geologists. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 3:06
  • $\begingroup$ I think you are being overly-ambitious. I suggest you find a technique and sensor that can help you identify one mineral or help you distinguish between two similar minerals. What sensors to you have to work with? $\endgroup$
    – haresfur
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 3:12
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have access to a high-temperature furnace or could you build one? In that case you could use a combination of thermocouples inside and outside a sample to do differential thermal analysis to distinguish between clay minerals. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_thermal_analysis $\endgroup$
    – haresfur
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is called X-ray diffraction (XRD). It is done by machines that look like this:

enter image description here

I'm not sure this is in the scope of your electronic engineering project.

  • $\begingroup$ I am using a credit card sized development board and i need to do it sensors like these(geiger counter,rain sensor,moisture sensor etc): adafruit.com/category/35 What is the most effective way to make a mineral identifier with these sensors ? And what other basic techniques can be used to identify minerals? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 9:34
  • $\begingroup$ Michael is correct. If you want identification of all minerals, i.e. all crystalline substances, then XRD is what you need. It would be nice if there was some cheap, pocket sized gizmo to do this, but there just isn't. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ @TechDinoKing none of the sensors listed on that site are useful for mineral identification. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael Not those sensors. Those were examples of the size of the sensors i can use. So what sensors can i use for mineral identification ? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ None. If it was that easy someone would have made it long ago. You can have sensor that may give you hints, such as colour (not really helpful), magnetism (useful in some isolated cases), density (actually useful, but not sure such a sensor exists). That's why machines like XRD are there - to actually do it properly. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 19:35

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