X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRFS) are powerful, well-established tools used by analytical chemists in many areas of technology. However, their potential in the coatings industry has not been fully exploited. XRD is convenient for the identification of diverse crystalline solids encountered in paint research laboratories and production plants. It is particularly well suited for use in the identification and quantitative analysis of crystalline pigments and extenders, either alone or when present in pastes or paint. XRFS is useful as a stand-alone technique for elemental analysis and as a complementary tool for use with other analytical techniques. X-ray spectrometers typically can analyze all elements with an atomic number of about 11 and higher, but some units can reach as low as atomic number 5. XRFS spans the concentration range from parts per million to high percentages for most elements in liquid or solid samples. Dedicated XRFS units, much lower in cost than scanning spectrometers, can be set up to detect and quantify one or a few specific elements. Portable XRFS units are available for field investigations. A survey of the principles, applications, and limitations of XRD and XRFS is given.
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