Article Article
Improvement of Exotic Material Verification Using XRF

While various common alloys, such as steels, titaniums, and more recently aluminums, have been tested and inspected using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) for decades, uncommon and niche alloys can produce surprising and unusual results. The ability to identify the base metal, major alloying elements, and trace materials in these alloys is critical to XRF testing and inspection procedures. Modern XRF instruments and software can quickly and easily characterize standard and common alloys, such as low-carbon steel, grade 5 titanium, and 6000 series aluminum; detected signals from the metals are generally discrete and strongly pronounced. Less common alloys, such as nickel superalloys and uraniums, present a greater analytical hurdle for rapid on-site testing, grading, and inspection. These exotic materials contain either weaker signals from the alloying elements or nonunique signatures, preventing accurate quantification. Standardization adjustments through software improvements increase the testing accuracy for these uncommon alloys, bringing their results in line with those from more traditional alloys. By modulating the detection energies of interest, the robust calculation can greatly surpass standard, out-of-the-box performance without the need for any inspector input. These improvements can provide greater inspection accuracy on a wider variety of rare and valuable alloys into the future.



Angeliu, T.M., and G.S. Was, 1993, “The Effect of Chromium, Carbon, and Yttrium on the Oxidation of Nickel-Base Alloys in High Temperature Water,” Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Vol. 24, No. 45,

Henry, C.R., 1965, “Plutonium and Uranium as Engineering Materials,” Report for the US Atomic Energy Commission under Contract AT(45-1)-1830, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Richland, WA

Hoge, K.G., B.A. Kuhn, and V.L. Reshenk, 1973, “Flow Behavior of Mulberry Uranium,” Report UCRL-51346, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, University of California, Livermore, CA

Jenkins, R., 2000, “X-ray Techniques: Overview,” in Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, ed. R.A. Meyers, John Wiley and Sons

Jung, H.G., and K.Y. Kim, 1996, “Effect of Yttrium Coating on the Oxidation Behavior of Ni 3 Al,” Oxidation of Metals, Vol. 46, pp. 147–167,

Kvernes, I.A., 1973, “The Role of Yttrium in High-Temperature Oxidation Behavior of Ni-Cr-Al Alloys,” Oxidation of Metals, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 45–64

Li, X.L., S.M. He, X.T. Zhou, Y. Zou, Z.J. Li, A.G. Li, and X.H. Yu, 2014, “Effects of Rare Earth Yttrium on Microstructure and Properties of Ni–16Mo–7Cr–4Fe Nickel-Based Superalloy,” Materials Characterization, Vol. 95, pp. 171–179,

Loupilov, A., A. Sokolov, and V. Gostilo, 2001, “X-ray Peltier Cooled Detectors for X-ray Fluorescence Analysis,” Radiation Physics and Chemistry, Vol. 61, No. 3-6, pp. 463–464, 

Margui, E., and R. Van Grieken, 2013, X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry and Related Techniques: An Introduction, Momentum Press

Peterson, C.A., 1964, “The Properties of a Meta-stable Gamma-Phase Uranium-Base Alloy: U-7.5 Nb-2.5 Zr,” US Government Report, Contract No. W-7405-eng-48, University of California Radiation Laboratory, Livermore, CA

Piorek, S., 1988, “Modern Alloy Analysis and Identification with a Portable X-ray Analyzer,” Advances in X-ray Analysis, Vol. 32, pp. 239–250

Piorek, S., 1997, “Field-Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry: Past, Present, and Future,” Field Analytical Chemistry and Technology, Vol. 1, No. 6, pp. 317–329,<317::AID-FACT2>3.0.CO;2-N

Piorek, S., and J.R. Pasmore, 1992, “Standardless, In-situ Analysis of Metallic Contaminants in the Natural Environment with a PC-based, High Resolution Portable X-ray Analyzer,” Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Field Screening Methods for Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Chemicals, 24–26 February, Las Vegas, NV, pp. 1135–1151

Sherman, J., 1955, “The Theoretical Derivation of Fluorescent X-ray Intensities from Mixtures,” Spectrochimica Acta, Vol. 7, pp. 283–306,

Simmon, M.S., and S.E. Chappell, 1992, “Performance Requirements for Field Applications of Portable and Transportable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometers,” Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Field Screening Methods for Hazardous Wastes and Toxic Chemicals, 24–26 February, Las Vegas, NV, pp. 1152–1161

Thomsen, V., 2007, “Basic Fundamental Parameters in X-ray Fluorescence,” Spectroscopy, Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 46–50

Van Grieken, R., and A. Markowicz, 2001, Handbook of X-ray Spectrometry, CRC Press

van Sprang, H.A., 2000, “Fundamental Parameter Methods in XRF Spectroscopy,” Advances in X-ray Analysis, Vol. 42, pp. 1–10

Weindorf, D.C., N. Bakr, and Y. Zhu, 2014, “Advances in Portable X-ray Fluorescence (PXRF) for Environmental, Pedological, and Agronomic Applications,” Advances in Agronomy, Vol. 128, pp. 1–45,


Usage Shares
Total Views
80 Page Views
Total Shares
0 Tweets
0 PDF Downloads
0 Facebook Shares
Total Usage