hand held alloy reading machine

hey, tonight on tv on "dirty jobs" the guy was in a large scrap yard. saw something i hadn't heard existed before, was surprised because i've heard the question so many times before "how can i tell what alloy aluminum i have?!". they were pawing through a bucket load of aluminum cans and the host of the show picked up a triangular chunk of 1 inch thick aluminum and the scrap yard employee (hey, just dawned on me, there was a girl working there too, jeez! only in california would there be a woman working at a scrap yard, she was relatively cute!) well, back to the chunk of aluminum, the scrap yard employee brought out a hand held electronic device (would be like a LARGE cordless drill) and said something about "...it burns it.." and held it up to the chunk of aluminum, apparently the device "burned" the aluminum and read what constituents were in the smoke. then he held it so the camera could see the read-out and it listed two possible aluminum alloys (both were in the "70XX" family). i was amazed. never heard from you guys there was such a thing, and, was amazed it gave a read-out of the alloy number, woulda assumed it would tell, in percentages, what metals were present and the operator would have to discern what alloy it was. looked like it was an expensive machine. hard to believe a scrap yard would have one! i don't think they said, but i assumed it could also read alloys of steel etc.


Reply to
William Wixon
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Arc emission spectrometer. Commonly used in big scrap-yards. One such product is "Arc-Met". The idea is to have electrical arc between device and item, and see what wavelengths of light there is in the arc emission.

The other kind is x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer. They use a radioactive isotope in the device, irradiate the item with x-rays from isotope and analyze the x-ray spectrum from the item to be analyzer (fluorescent x-rays). One such device is "X-Met". One needs to change the isotope (109Cd, 55Fe, 57Co, 153Gd etc.) based on material group.

One famous manufacturer of there is Finnish company Outokumpu, who developed these Arc-Met and X-Met products. Of course, the point is that these are small enough to be easily portable. These can tell carbon content of steel very accurately too. Works with steel, stainless steels, aluminum etc..

Kristian Ukkonen.

Reply to
Kristian Ukkonen

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