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September/October 2009

Analysis of Nickel Alloys

A new ASTM International standard will help users properly prepare and analyze various nickel-based alloy samples by inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry.

The standard, E2594, Test Method for Analysis of Nickel Alloys by Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry (Performance-Based Method), will assist users in preparing sample and calibration solutions and with validation of analytical parameter selections made for their equipment, in order to help them produce high quality results.

E2594 was developed by Subcommittee E01.08 on Nickel and Cobalt and High Temperature Alloys, part of ASTM International Committee E01 on Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores and Related Materials.

“Many laboratories use inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry for routine specification acceptance testing of various alloying and trace elements in nickel-based alloys,” says Patrick Cole, chief chemist, ATI Allvac, and vice chair, Committee E01. “There was not an existing ASTM standard test method applicable for this particular test discipline and matrix.”

Cole says an issue that Committee E01 has dealt with when considering how to approach a test method for ICP analysis is that there are various spectrometer configurations, which have necessitated the use of varying sample dilutions and/or analytical parameters such as wavelength. “The new test method is performance-based and relies more on the demonstrated quality of the test result than on strict adherence to specific procedural steps,” says Cole.

Included in the scope of E2594 is testing for aluminum, boron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, tantalum, tin, titanium, tungsten, vanadium and zirconium. These elements are specified in many material specifications.

“Committee E01 will use this test method as a template to approach development of additional ICP analytical standards for other commodity metals,” says Cole. During the most recent committee meeting, Cole says, task groups were formed to address ICP methods for analysis of titanium, aluminum and copper alloys using E2594 as a template. Laboratories are encouraged to volunteer resources to help with these projects in addition to other Subcommittee E01.08 work on proposed test methods for ICP-mass spectrometric, spark-atomic emission spectrometric and graphite furnace atomic absorption analysis of nickel alloys.


Technical Information: Patrick Cole, ATI Allvac, Monroe, N.C.

Phone: 704-289-4511, ext. 1317

ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole

Phone: 610-832-9739