Material analysis – Mr. Caliper will explain how it works!

Mr. Caliper, what exactly is a material analysis?

Material analysis determines the different elements and their mass ratios in an alloy. For this purpose, a small part of the sample is vaporised through an electric spark. The radiation generated is analysed by a spark emission spectrometer.

Why is it important?

The chemical composition of a product is the basic for almost all chemical and mechanical properties. For example, the carbon content is decisive for the hardness and tensile strength in case of low-alloy steels. Chromium and manganese support the through hardening during the heat treatment and are essential for larger dimensions. The corrosion resistance is largely determined using the ratio of chromium and nickel for stainless steels.

Which types of material analysis can be performed in the laboratory of Würth Industrie Service?

We can test iron-based products. Up to 26 elements are identified during every measurement depending on the measurement programme.

Test sequence

Mr. Caliper is ready to explain the material analysis on the products to you. Learn about the individual steps in detail!

material analysis-suitability test

To be able to perform a material analysis, the surface to be analysed should have a diameter of minimum 8 mm and a minimum thickness of 0.5 mm.

material analysis-sample preparation

A new grinding wheel should be used for each sample to avoid any carry-over of different samples. It is important to ensure that the test surface is flat during the grinding process. In order to minimise possible contaminations, the samples are cleaned after the sample preparation and dried with ethanol.

material analysis-set up-test machine

At first the defined steel type has to be selected. In our example, it is a low-alloy steel. The machine automatically requests the operator to test specific reference samples. These differ depending on the steel grade selected and should be checked everyday before the actual testing. The device is also calibrated internally on a monthly basis.

material analysis-perform-test

After the set up is completed, the sample is placed on the spark stand on the opening of the electrode. After pressing the start button, a metal piece moves downwards and thus closes the electric circuit. The spark test is performed on the sample. Each measured element has different wavelengths and can be determined by the spectrometer. The intensity of the measured wavelengths defines the mass ratios of the different elements. The spark test is performed on the sample at least three times. If the reproducibility is okay, then the average is displayed for each mass ratio of the elements.

material analysis-evaluation of results

In addition to the usual standard information, the measured elements and their averages for each mass values are specified. The employee also evaluates and, if required, lists the elements deviating from the desired value.

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Complete overview of the tests

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