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Positive Material Identification (XRF/OES)

Positive Material Identification (PMI) is the analysis of a material, this can be any material but is generally used for the analysis of metallic alloy to establish composition by reading the quantities by percentage of its constituent elements. Typical methods for PMI include X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES).

PMI is a portable method of analysis and can be used in the field on components. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) PMI cannot detect small elements such as carbon. This means that when undertaking analysis of stainless steels such as grades 304 and 316 the low carbon 'L' variant cannot be determined. This however can be analyzed with Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES).

Advantages of PMI Testing

PMI comes with a number of advantages. It is versatile and can be used on any size or shape of component. PMI tests produce consistent results and thus have a high degree of repeatability. The XRF Analyzer used to perform PMI is a portable, lightweight device and is useful for quick analyses of components or materials. PMI is a valuable tool in any situation where the material composition of a piece of equipment is unknown or in doubt. It is also useful in situations where samples cannot be removed for routine testing. Similarly, PMI is helpful when material documentation has been misplaced or no longer available for material verification.

Smart OES portable chemical analyzer is from Hitachi PMI Master. Optical Emission Spectroscopy is the measurement of elemental wavelengths by “sparking” the material. A metallic sample is placed on the unit and the machine creates a plasma burn on the surface of the sample. The compositional elements are excited through the burn process and give off different wavelengths of light. Each separate element’s wavelength is read by the Spectro Machine and reported for alloy determination.