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Recent Advances in Handheld X-Ray Fluorescence Based Alloy PMI/Material Testing

Recently, a number of improvements related to accuracy, ease of use, speed and durability have been instituted in handheld (HH) X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instruments. These advances are explained in practical terms, and the impact that each advance will have on the end user. This presentation is intended for those responsible for plant piping system maintenance and safety, and it reinforces the practical usage and value of nondestructive HHXRF analysis in Positive Material Identification (PMI) of alloys. Applications of useful low-compositional level elemental results (parts per million in magnitude) in conjunction with API corrosion guidelines will be covered (i.e., API RP 578 and RP 939-C). Additional compositionally-derived preventative maintenance techniques will also be included. Supplementary to the API corrosion guidelines application, an outline of HHXRF technology, its traditional alloy analysis uses, and distinct relevance to metallurgical and maintenance engineers will further illustrate the significance of recent innovations. A systematic and targeted approach in applying improvements to software, firmware and hardware functionalities of a HH XRF instrument have all blended into a new era for the technique. Throughput and duty-cycle achievements have allowed a greater user impact when utilizing HH XRF during both uptime and downtime maintenance activities. Connectivity improvements to the technology allow remotely generated data to have an immediate impact for users. Most notably, this recent set of computational improvements positions HHXRF into an analytical range rivaling aspects of laboratory grade XRF analysis while maintaining portability.


[1] API Recommended Practice 578. Material Verification Program for New and Existing Alloy Piping Systems. American Petroleum Institute, May 1999.

[2] API Recommended Practice 939-C. Guidelines for Avoiding Sulfidation (Sulfidic) Corrosion Failures in Oil Refineries. American Petroleum Institute, May 2009.

[3] Pavageau, E.-M., and Cattant, F. Residual Chromium Effects on Flow-Accelerated Corrosion of Carbon Steel. Results of an Experimental Program Conducted in Electricité de France’s CIROCO Loop. Electricité de France, Final Report, March 2006.

[4] Phillips, W.L., Hashim, H.H., and Valerioti, Bill. Effect of residual copper, nickel, and chromium on the corrosion resistance of carbon steel in hydrofluoric acid alkylation service. NACE Corrosion 93 Conference, Paper 623. 

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