Mr. Frantz

We tried to put it off but we could not avoid it- it is time to tackle the Frantz. The Frantz is a rather noisy machine that separates the magnetic and nonmagnetic components of our sample by running the grains between two electrically charged magnets. The point of all this is to further isolate the zircon minerals that we will be analyzing.

Mr. Frantz - DSC00992-500x375.jpg - Image #0

The crushed samples is fed into a funnel at the top right of the machine and travels between the magnets where it is separated into two buckets.

The only problem is that the machine has not been working properly. However, after fiddling with it for some time, I came across a video that made us a little less wary of the Frantz’s performance. In the video, the machine is doing what it should be- separating the grains- but they are being deposited in the wrong buckets based on what we know about how the magnets work. Fortunately, this has been what our machine has been doing so we decided to try it- and it works! Although still rather finicky, Mr. Frantz is churning out a separated sample and soon we will be able to move on to more separations- this time with some nasty liquids.

A peak at the video we found and how the Frantz “works”.

Liz Bertolett

One Comment

  1. Dear Liz,
    please, read this report from the USGS (http://gravmag.ou.edu/mag_rock/magrptfinal.pdf) and confirm me that what the authors say in the last paragraph of page 5 is that the magnetic fraction goes to the bucket which is in the upper position (“move out of the main stream to the higher side of the chute”) and the non-magnetic fraction goes to the bucket which is in the lower position (“another stream of grains that moves downslope parallel to the less magnetic stream”), assuming that “the side slope was fixed at 15 degrees, sloping downward away from the operator” (second paragraph of the parameters section).

    I also found this document about the working principles of the Frantz (http://homepage.univie.ac.at/dieter.mader/data/man/Frantz_Operation.pdf). I hope you find it useful.

    Finally, in this video, the Frantz works as you supposed it should work, but I think it’s a slightly different model (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN6m-OFsioA).

    By the way, if you are using the Frantz for detrital zircon read this paper first: Sircombe and Stern (2002), An investigation of artificial biasing in detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology due to magnetic
    separation in sample preparation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 66, No. 13, pp. 2379–2397.

    Good zircon hunting!

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