Volume 17, Issue 1 (January 1972)
Identification of Single-Stranded Copper Wires by Nondestructive Neutron Activation Analysis
The great demand and high price of copper has, in recent years, resulted in a large number of thefts from construction sites, warehouses, storage areas, and private homes. Copper wire has been stripped from telegraph and hydroelectric poles. Expensive multiple-conductor cables have been stolen and the insulation burned off in order to recover a relatively small amount of copper scrap. In most cases it has been a difficult task to identify the wire, since copper wires are usually drawn from high purity refined ore and few analytical procedures are sufficiently sensitive to quantitatively determine the amount of trace elements present. Neutron activation analysis has a high sensitivity for a large number of elements. Consequently, this method is chosen when other analytical procedures, such as atomic absorption spectrophotometry and emission spectrography, fail to give useful results.