Application Brief

Carbon Levels: The Critical Factor in Analyzing, Inspecting and Sorting Steel Alloys

Some steel products are easy to analyze and test with a handheld XRF or simple handheld OES analyzer. These instruments are adequate for sample identification and grade sorting. But when you must conduct 100% material testing for incoming or outgoing inspection, or for alloy sorting, your analytical requirements may be a bit more complex.  Distinguishing very small differences in elemental composition between grades requires a precise determination of the steel’s carbon content. The problem — handheld analyzers lack the ability to determine carbon content. Some users either bring samples into the lab for testing — a time-consuming and costly approach — or they risk not testing carbon content at all.

This paper discusses recent advances in portable and mobile OES technology and shows analytical results from a new generation of analyzers. Test results indicate that these instruments can quickly and precisely measure and verify the carbon content of steel for most critical applications.

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