Other Applications

Oxford Labs’ X-ray fluorescence facilities are available forĀ  use in a wide range of other applications, including:-

  • analysis of metals recovered for recycling
  • research in igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic petrology
  • soil surveys
  • mining (e.g., measuring the grade of ore)
  • cement production (e.g., quality control)
  • ceramic and glass manufacturing
  • metallurgy (e.g., quality control)
  • environmental studies (e.g., analyses of particulate matter on air filters)
  • petroleum industry (e.g., sulphur content of crude oils and petroleum products)
  • field analysis in geological and environmental studies (using portable, hand-held XRF spectrometers)

Metal Recovery Applications. EDXRF is a valuable tool for the fast and accurate assessment of recovered (scrap) metals. This allows for rapid sorting into grades – for example, stainless steel, tool steels, various low-alloy steels, nickel alloys, titanium alloys, and others.

Environmental Monitoring Applications. The potential applications for portable EDXRF machines in environmental monitoring are manifold. Examples include air quality monitoring, soil remediation, plastics recycling, waste oil treatment. Current legislation regarding the disposal and handling of hazardous materials (for example, EU directive 2002/95/EC – Restriction of Hazardous Substances) makes it vital that accurate assessments are made and records maintained. Other examples of the use of XRF technology include the detection of lead in paint on children’s toys, and of hazardous pollutants in contaminated soil.

Geological and Petrological Applications. In most cases for rocks, ores, sediments and minerals, the sample is pulverized (ground to a fine powder) after which it may be analyzed directly, especially in the case of trace element analyses. However, the very wide range in abundances of different elements (especially iron) and in grain-sizes within a powdered sample, both make comparison with the proportional standards problematic. For this reason, it is common practice to mix the sample with a chemical flux and use a furnace or gas burner to melt the powder. Melting creates a homogenous ‘glass’ which can be effectively analyzed, and the proportions of the (now diluted) elements can be calculated.

Merits of the EDXRF technique. X-ray fluorescence is particularly well-suited for investigations which involve:-

  • bulk chemical analyses of major elements (Si, Ti, Al, Fe, Mn, Mg, Ca, Na, K, P) in rock and sediment
  • bulk chemical analyses of trace elements (in abundances >1 ppm; Ba, Ce, Co, Cr, Cu, Ga, La, Nb, Ni, Rb, Sc, Sr, Rh, U, V, Y, Zr, Zn) in rock and sediment – the detection limits for trace elements are typically in the order of a few parts per million (ppm)

X-ray fluorescence is limited to analysis of:-

  • relatively large samples, typically > 1 gram
  • materials which can be reduced to powder form and effectively homogenized
  • materials for which compositionally similar, well-characterized standards are available
  • materials containing high abundances of elements for which the absorption and fluorescence effects are reasonably well understood
  • Usage

    XRF spectroscopy is widely used for qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis of environmental, archaeological, geological, biological, industrial and other samples.
  • Compared to rival techniques, such as Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy (ICPS) and Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), XRF has the advantage of being non-destructive, multi-elemental, fast and cost-effective.
  • Furthermore, XRF provides a good, uniform detection level across a large portion of the Periodic Table and is applicable to a wide range of concentrations, from 100% down to a few parts per million (ppm).
  • Proud Sponsor of:

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Oxford Labs – FAQ

Which materials is XRF suitable for?
XRF can be used to test a wide range of materials from ceramics to metals and glass. It has various applications in industry, in environmental studies and the verification of antiquities. Read more

How do I get my item analyzed?
We can test on our premises or on site. Contact Oxford Labs for details of the services we offer.
How long does it take?
The process is fast and efficient. We aim to provide documentation and return of your items within two weeks. Read more

What results can I expect?
The chemical composition of the sampled area will be determined. We can offer an opinion as to the historical periods with which these results are consistent based on comparison with our database of known genuine results.
Does the process damage the item?
XRF does not damage the item. It is a safe and non-destructive process. Read more ...

What is the cost?
We offer a comprehensive service at a competitive price. Click here for our scale of charges.

What documentation will you provide?
The analysis will be fully documented and a signed certificate will be provided.