Comply with PHMSA Mega Rule

Complying with PHMSA Mega Rule for Oil and Gas Pipelines

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Handheld LIBS helps pipeline operators comply with the PHMSA “Mega Rule.”

SciAps Z-200 C+ measures carbon, carbon equivalents for in-field pipeline materials in seconds.

The “Z” is a handheld laser-based analyzer weighing < 4.5 lbs., battery included, that measures carbon content, silicon, and a range of metals in steels, stainless and other alloys in a few seconds.  

Specific to PHMSA and general pipeline requirements, the SciAps Z provides carbon content, carbon equivalents (CE), and concentrations of alloying elements Si, Ti, V, Mn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Nb, Mo and other elements. Based on industry input, a dedicated Pipeline App addresses carbon and CE work especially for American Petroleum Institute (APL) specification 5L. 

The Z is widely accepted by most major pipeline owner/operators or their NDT contractors as an alternative to spark OES testing or off-site laboratory results. There are hundreds of SciAps Z 200 C+ units in the field daily for pipeline analysis. Included with the analyzer is a recommended testing procedure that incorporates sample preparation and certified reference materials for quality assurance validation.  

Independent industry studies have shown that carbon and CE testing with the SciAps Z is up to 3x faster than traditional spark OES testing.  This is largely due to the fact that the argon supply for the Z is a small canister stored in the analyzer handle. Operators can perform in-ditch testing without having to move large tanks of compressed argon gas, re-purge and/or recalibrate the analyzer. 

The available Pipeline App automates recommended testing procedures, including test averaging, quality assurance and calibration checks. A main goal is to encourage uniform testing and data validation across a spectrum of analyzer users to improve overall data quality. Also included with the Pipeline App are specific type standardization materials. For example, the procedure adopted by most pipeline owner/operators requires the analyzer operator to switch to a type standardization if the CE is in the critical range of 0.4 – 0.5, because of hydrogen cracking concerns. The type standardization “dials in” the carbon and CE calibrations in this critical range to yield even greater accuracy. The Pipeline App is available for any existing or new Z-200 or Z-200 C+ analyzer. The Z operates on the Android platform making it easy to add new applications as they become available.

How does it work?

The Z-200 C+ utilizes the technique of laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS).  That’s fancy language for “shoot a laser at the metal, vaporize it and measure the light emitted.” The emitted light reveals elements present and how much of each.

LIBS is an optical emission technique like spark OES. But with LIBS, the high voltage spark source is replaced by a miniature, pulsed laser. Although battery powered, the pulsed laser is energetic enough to vaporize the metal being analyzed. And because the laser is very focused (less than 100 um), the area being analyzed is smaller, which means volume requiring argon purge is much smaller—up to 1,000 times smaller—so argon consumption is much lower. In addition, between tests, the argon flow is automatically cycled off.

The result is the Z delivers about 150 carbon, CE results in a single small argon canister located in the handle of the device. The canisters are user-replaceable and cost about $7.50/canister, thus about 5 cents/test. 

Discover Carbon, and Carbon Equivalents (CE) in a Handheld


Contact Us

For a free demonstration, more information or a quote, please contact us at sales@sciaps.com or +1 339 927 9455. 


Nascar #93 for Spring 2020Car 93, new for the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series

Nascar 2019 CJ McLaughlin

Meet NASCAR driver CJ at a SciAps Demo! SciAps is proud to sponsor driver CJ McLaughlin on the NASCAR Xfinity circuit. CJ works in the NDT/PMI field by day, doing materials testing for oil and gas pipelines. On nights and weekends, he’s tearing up tracks all over the country and ascending the NASCAR ladder. Schedule an NDT demo with CJ at cjmclaughlin@sciaps.com.


Carbon Analysis in Stainless and Carbon Steels with Handheld LIBS

ApNote for CE with Handheld LIBS

Carbon Equivalents Measurement with Handheld LIBS

NDT-PMI Product Brochure

NDT-PMI Carbon, Carbon Equivalents, Alloys… even L and H Grade Stainless

SciAps Z Series Spec Sheet

Z Series Specifications

Sciaps One Box LIBS and XRF Technologies

When it’s time to hit the road

One Box

The ultimate in portability – A compact, affordable package of analyzers with shared accessories like batteries, charger and cables. Optimal performance for virtually every alloy and element for less money than a comparable spark OES system.

Did you know?

SciAps also makes a leading handheld XRF analyzer. While it doesn’t measure carbon (only LIBS or spark OES can do that), it does provide fast, precise results for phosphorus (P), sulfur (S) and transition and heavy metals. Together, SciAps provides the industry-leading “One Box” package of XRF and LIBS. 

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