SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1964

X-ray Spectrographic Analysis of Metals and Minerals: Scope and Limitations of Quantitative Analysis


The past ten years have seen an important increase in the application of X-ray spectroscopy to routine analysis of metals and minerals. This expansion is well documented in the series of review articles by Liebhafsky et al, appearing regularly in Analytical Chemistry (1–7). In 1951 (1) and 1952 (2) these reviews were entitled “X-ray Absorption,” and in each of the two years contained two references to X-ray fluorescence techniques. By 1954 (3) the title of the review had been changed to “X-ray Absorption and Emission” and the major portion of it consisted of references to X-ray fluorescence techniques. By 1962 (7) the X-ray emission field had expanded to the point where some 90 per cent of the over 400 references cited in the review article were reports concerned with X-ray fluorescence or direct emission instruments and techniques. It is intended here to review the advances over the past ten years in the analytical capabilities of the X-ray emission technique. These advances in capabilities, however, arise from improvements in instrumentation and in basic analytical procedures. It is necessary, then, to review these two topics in order to account for the present capabilities of the technique. It should be noted also that the problems are not all solved. In particular, there are two important ones remaining—one in the field of instrumentation and the other in the field of methods. Improved means of exciting and detecting the X-ray spectra of elements of low atomic number are needed. In connection with basic methods, more information is needed on the effect of surface finish of metal specimens on an X-ray analysis and of the effect of specimen grinding on the analysis of various types of nonmetallic materials.

Author Information

Kemp, J.
Applied Research Laboratories, Inc., Glendale, Calif.
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Developed by Committee: E13
Pages: 41–47
DOI: 10.1520/STP45946S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6749-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6603-5