Murray Clay Minerals Laboratory


About the Clay Lab Resources

The Clay Lab’s goal is to prepare students for further academic research in clay mineralogy or industrial application of clay mineralogical techniques.  Students and geological research approaches have changed dramatically over the past 10 years.  There is a growing interest on the part of educators to introduce students much earlier in their careers to the rigors of research.  The concept of working within a research team is now the norm.  A good overview of instrumentation use is preferable to a narrow understanding of the techniques required for specific research.

In the Murray Clay Minerals Laboratory students can learn a series of basic sedimentological techniques, e.g. grit percentage, size fractioning of sediments.  These “wet lab” techniques are complemented by more sophisticated instrumentation, e.g. surface area testing, particle size analysis, brightness determination, viscosity, and scanning electron microscope imaging.  Furthermore, the Clay Lab’s heavy emphasis on X-ray diffraction for mineral identification is valuable training for a large range of students.


Analysis available Instrumentation
X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

Phillips XRG X-ray goniometer system

Grit % / Residue  
Brookfield Viscosity Brookfield Synchro-Letric Viscometer
Hercules Viscosity Kaltec Scientific Model M2 Viscometer
Particle Size Distribution Micometeritics Sedigraph Model 5120
Brightness Technidyne Technibrite Micro TB-1C
Scanning Electron Microsope (SEM) FEI Quanta 400 FEG


The Research Team

Haydn Murray, Director of Applied Clay Minerals Laboratories

Christine Shriner, Manager

Huitang Zhou, Assistant Manager

Bob Ensman, Instrumentation Engineer

Ken DeHart, Computer Systems Manager

Paul Levy, Database and Sedigraph Consultant

Ben Mertz, Senior Research Analyst

Zayin, Assistant Research Analyst

Affiliate Team Members

Jurgen Schieber, Shale Research