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This paper will review the history and progress of technology for analysis of trace constituents in metal-bearing substances within the author's experience, beginning with definitions for the terms trace and trace elements. Analytical techniques for interstitial elements, beginning with carbon, an important control element in steel, will be traced from the conductimetric through infrared. The progression of analytical techniques for sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen will also be discussed. For trace or minor alloying elements such as aluminum, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, and silicon, the paper will address techniques from photometric analysis to atomic absorption and to atomic emission by plasma. Metallurgically, the detection of trace compounds as they exist in steel is also an important parameter. The use of infrared spectroscopy as a quantitative tool will receive limited discussion. As in all other disciplines, resolution of these problems will lead to additional interesting challenges, which include the rapid growth of lasers in analytical procedures.
metals, analytical techniques, trace constituents, interstitials, photometric analysis, atomic absorption, atomic emission(plasma), infrared, laser
Senior chemist, Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp., Research Center, Brackenridge, Pa.