If you are an ASTM Compass Subscriber and this document is part of your subscription, you can access it for free at ASTM Compass
    ASTM E1251 - 17a

    Standard Test Method for Analysis of Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys by Spark Atomic Emission Spectrometry

    Active Standard ASTM E1251 | Developed by Subcommittee: E01.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.05

      Format Pages Price  
    PDF 10 $54.00   ADD TO CART
    Hardcopy (shipping and handling) 10 $54.00   ADD TO CART
    Standard + Redline PDF Bundle 20 $64.00   ADD TO CART

    Significance and Use

    5.1 The metallurgical properties of aluminum and its alloys are highly dependent on chemical composition. Precise and accurate analyses are essential to obtaining desired properties, meeting customer specifications, and helping to reduce scrap due to off-grade material.

    5.2 This test method is applicable to chill cast specimens as defined in Practices E716 and can also be applied to other types of samples provided that suitable reference materials are available. Also, other sample forms can be melted and cast into a disk, using an appropriate mold, as described in Practices E716. However, it should be noted that some elements (for example, magnesium) readily form oxides, while some others (for example, sodium, lithium, calcium, and strontium) are volatile, and may be lost to varying degrees during the melting process.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method describes the analysis of aluminum and its alloys by spark-atomic emission spectrometry (Spark-AES). The aluminum specimen to be analyzed may be in the form of a chill cast disk, casting, foil, sheet, plate, extrusion, or some other wrought form or shape. The elements covered in the scope of this method are listed in the table below.


    Tested Mass Fraction Range
    (Wt %)


       0.001 to 0.003


       0.001 to 0.006


       0.0004 to 0.24


       0.03 to 0.6


       0.0006 to 0.009


       0.0002 to –


       0.001 to 0.23


       0.4 to –


       0.001 to 5.5


       0.02 to –


       0.2 to 0.5


       0.04 to 0.6


       0.0003 to 2.1


       0.03 to 5.4


       0.001 to 1.2


       0.005 to 2.6


       0.003 to –


       0.07 to 16


       0.003 to 0.02


       0.03 to –


       0.03 to –


       0.001 to 0.12


       0.002 to 0.022


       0.002 to 5.7


       0.001 to 0.12

    Note 1: The mass fraction ranges given in the above scope were established through cooperative testing (ILS) of selected reference materials. The range shown for each element does not demonstrate the actual usable analytical range for that element. The usable analytical range may be extended higher or lower based on individual instrument capability, spectral characteristics of the specific element wavelength being used, and the availability of appropriate reference materials.

    Note 2: Mercury (Hg) is intentionally not included in the scope. Analysis of Hg in aluminum by Spark-AES is not recommended. Accurate analysis of Hg using this technique is compromised by the presence of an intense iron interference. Inaccurate reporting of Hg due to these interference effects can jeopardize the current designation of aluminum production as a mercury-free process. To demonstrate compliance with legislated Hg content limits, use of an alternate method capable of analysis with a minimum reporting limit of 0.0001% or lower is recommended. Suitable techniques include but are not limited to GD-MS, XRF (X-ray fluorescence), cold vapor AA, and ICP-MS.

    1.2 This test method is suitable primarily for the analysis of chill cast disks as defined in Practices E716. Other forms may be analyzed, provided that: (1) they are sufficiently massive to prevent undue heating, (2) they allow machining to provide a clean, flat surface, which creates a seal between the specimen and the spark stand, and (3) reference materials of a similar metallurgical condition and chemical composition are available.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific safety and health statements are given in Section 10.

    1.4 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    B985 Practice for Sampling Aluminum Ingots, Billets, Castings and Finished or Semi-Finished Wrought Aluminum Products for Compositional Analysis

    E29 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Test Data to Determine Conformance with Specifications

    E135 Terminology Relating to Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores, and Related Materials

    E158 Practice for Fundamental Calculations to Convert Intensities into Concentrations in Optical Emission Spectrochemical Analysis

    E172 Practice for Describing and Specifying the Excitation Source in Emission Spectrochemical Analysis

    E305 Practice for Establishing and Controlling Atomic Emission Spectrochemical Analytical Curves

    E406 Practice for Using Controlled Atmospheres in Spectrochemical Analysis

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E716 Practices for Sampling and Sample Preparation of Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys for Determination of Chemical Composition by Spark Atomic Emission Spectrometry

    E826 Practice for Testing Homogeneity of a Metal Lot or Batch in Solid Form by Spark Atomic Emission Spectrometry

    E1329 Practice for Verification and Use of Control Charts in Spectrochemical Analysis

    E1507 Guide for Describing and Specifying the Spectrometer of an Optical Emission Direct-Reading Instrument

    ANSI Standard

    ANSI H35.1/H35.1M American National Standard Alloy and Temper Designation Systems for Aluminum

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 77.120.10 (Aluminium and aluminium alloys)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11101705(Aluminum); 11172000(Aluminum based alloys)

    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/E1251-17A

    Citation Format

    ASTM E1251-17a, Standard Test Method for Analysis of Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys by Spark Atomic Emission Spectrometry, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2017, www.astm.org

    Back to Top