Since the introduction of commercial instrumentation in 1975, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) emission spectroscopy has become the technique of choice for the determination of metals for many environmental, clinical, geological, and industrial applications. This is due to the method's relative freedom from interferences, speed, and flexibility. Described are some main characteristics of ICP spectroscopy, typical sample preparation approaches, and results for the analysis of coolants and deposits from different parts of cooling systems. Laser ablation-ICP (LA-ICP) was used to map the spacial distribution of metals across the surface of water pump seals. Design of the ablation system and standardization method are described. These results are compared to the analysis of the same samples by scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX), electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA), and scanning auger microprobe/energy dispersive x-ray (SAM/EDX).
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