Application Brief

Improved XRF analysis for steel component PMI to prevent corrosion

Positive material identification (PMI) plays an increasingly vital role in many industrial facilities. PMI requires personnel to inspect piping, tanks, and other steel constructions to determine precise chemical compositions and ensure they are the correct materials for the job. A wrong alloy or an off-spec grade of steel can allow corrosion of critical components like pipes, valves, or welds. Of particular concern are sulfidation corrosion in petrochemical complexes, and flow-accelerated corrosion (FAC) in power plants.

Spectrometers utilizing multi-element analysis play critical roles in determining these important alloy components. Handheld XRF analyzers are the PMI instruments of choice in many cases and the measurements reported in this application paper were made using the SPECTRO xSORT XRF handheld spectrometer.

To judge the instrument’s suitability for meeting typical PMI challenges, xSORT was used to analyze a variety of steel samples including samples with difficult-to-measure light elements such as silicon, as well as low levels of chromium. Tabular results of these tests are included for review.

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