Analytical Chemistry can provide qualitative or quantitative analysis of materials. Through a combination of classic wet techniques and state-of-the-art instrumentation, our laboratory can identify material type and determine the detailed composition of various metals and their alloys. Such analysis is useful in research and development of future products as well as investigations of failures of current products in the field.
Whether to ensure against mixed material or certify compliance to an industry specification, Analytical Chemistry constitutes an essential part of any quality control program. A-Lab's Analytical Chemistry Department can help provide you with confidence that your products are ready to compete in an increasingly quality-conscious business environment.
Plasma Emission Spectrometry
Inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) is a method of elemental analysis that employs an argon plasma as an excitation source. An RF generator supplies power to a coil that induces a plasma in a stream of argon has. A sample to be analyzed is dissolved in an acid mixture, diluted to a known volume, and the solution pumped into a nebulizer which reduces it to a fine mist. This mist is carried up into the core of the plasma which is at about 6000-8000°C. At this temperature, atoms emit light characteristics of each element. By measuring the intensity of this light and comparing it to intensities from samples of standard reference materials of known composition, the percentage of each element present in the original sample can be calculated.
A more detailed and technical description of an ICP Spectrometer can be found in ASTM E1479.
Carbon and Sulfur by Combustion IR
Carbon and sulfur in steels and other alloys can be determined most accurately by the combustion method. In this method, a sample is placed in a ceramic crucible and introduced into an induction coil, where it is heated to high temperatures in a stream of oxygen. Any carbon and sulfur in the sample is burned off as CO2 and SO2 gases. These gases are carried through two infrared-detectors, one designed to measure carbon dioxide, the other sulfur dioxide. From these measurements and the weight of the burned sample, it is possible to calculate the weight percent of carbon and sulfur in the sample material.
A-Lab uses a Leco Model CS-230 standardized with NIST-traceable standard reference materials for the combustion determination of carbon and sulfur.
This standard test method is governed by ASTM E1019.
Nitrogen Determination by Inert Gas Fusion
Nitrogen in steels is most accurately determined by the fusion method. A known weight of a sample is placed in a graphite crucible and elevated to a high temperature. Nitrogen is released as N2 gas into a stream of ultra pure helium and measured as it passes through a thermal conductivity cell.
A-Lab uses a Leco Model TN400 standardized with NIST-traceable standard reference materials for the determination of nitrogen in steels.
This standard test method is governed by ASTM E1019.
Coating Weight Determination
A simple, effective technique for determining coating weights is the Weigh-Strip-Weigh Method. A test panel, or other suitable sample, is weighed before and after the coating is removed by immersion in an appropriate stripping solution. From the weight loss and the calculated surface area, the coating weight can be calculated. Coating weights are typically expressed in oz/ft2 or g/m2.
This method is the standard test method for determining zinc and zinc-alloy coating weights on steel, and is governed by ASTM A90.