X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

Definition - What does X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) mean?

X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) is a non-destructive, analytical technique which is used to analyze the mineral composition or internal structure of naturally existing or manufactured crystalline materials in detail.

This technique provides information about arrangement of atoms, composition of different elements in the sample, imperfections and crystalline size. It is abbreviated as XRD.

Petropedia explains X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

How it works:

XRD mainly contains three components a cathode ­X-ray tube, a sample holder, and an X-ray detector. X-rays are produced in a cathode ray tube when electrons bombards to a metal target in the system. These x rays are directed to the sample in the sample holder. XRD works on principle of diffraction for revealing the structure of the sample.


Land, where we live is composed of sediments, rocks and precipitates. In terms of geology, these are called as geological minerals. Minerals are crystalline in structure and composed of various chemical compounds. Quantification of the whole mineral rock is utmost important in the oil and gas exploration industry. Numerous techniques are available for quantification purpose out of which XRD is a fast and reliable method used in conjunction with other techniques for mineral identification used for petrology evaluation.

XRD is particularly useful for identifying composition of fine grained minerals, mixture of minerals, quantitative volume fractions of minerals in a sample and it also helps to calibrate mineral volume calculations from well log information. The above information is mainly used for lithology calculations. Beside, these basic analysis XRD also provides information about the degree of crystalline structure, presence of solid substitutions(impurities), physical state of minerals(useful for Pressure, Volume and Temperature analysis), clay mineral analysis(provide information about porosities and permeability’s), clay / silt ratio(useful for assessing shale gas formations) and extent of hydration(water content) of minerals.

Beside the oil and gas industry XRD technique is implemented in material science, chemistry, environmental science, pharmaceutical and other industries.

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