Pipeline testing for alloy and weld chemistry with
the SciAps Z-200C now widespread.
Most major pipeline operators will now accept carbon, CE test data from the SciAps Z-200C as an alternative to spark OES. Based on industry input, SciAps has created the Pipeline App. The App incorporates recommended testing procedures, quality assurance checks and calibration checks. Also included are specific type standardization materials. The Pipeline App is available for any existing or new Z-200C or C+ analyzer. The Z operates on the Android platform making it easy to add new applications as they become available.
The Z is the world’s only handheld analyzer capable of measuring carbon in steels and stainless, including L-grade stainless with a detection limit of 0.007%. The Z also measures 12+ elements in stainless and steels including carbon equivalents in steels, residuals, Mn:C ratio’s. The analyzer has multiple carbon equivalent formula’s stored, allowing operators to choose the appropriate CE formula. There are over 250 Z-200C or C+ units operating daily in refineries, suppliers to petrochem, NDT testing companies and now pipeline testing.
We’d like to extend a big “thank you” to the pipeline industry. In the days since the Z was recognized as an alternative to LIBS we’ve received dozens of orders for carbon units. We’ve incorporated the industry’s quality assurance recommendations and testing procedure into the Pipeline App and we’re building out an experienced support team as testing accelerates. And remember, for every analyzer sold into the US, SciAps donates $500 to the Wounded Warrior Project
How does LIBS work?
Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is an optical technique like spark OES and in fact is quite similar to spark OES. The LIBS device fires a pulsed laser at the material, vaporizing a small region into a plasma, typically about 200 um in diameter. The laser is rastered over six locations and the results from each location averaged. As the plasma cools the electrons and atoms recombine, emitting light in the UV, visible and infra-red. An onboard spectrometer measures the intensity of the light at each wavelength. The light emissions are characteristic of the elements present – carbon, chromium, manganese, etc. Calibrations convert the measured intensity ratios into concentrations.
The Z can be designed in a handheld form factor, unlike spark OES. The high powered, pulsed laser is only 1″ x 1″ compared to the bulky high voltage electronics required in a spark system. Because the laser beam is so small (100 um diameter), the purge volume is also very small, and thus requires far less argon for purging. Moreover the volume may be pre-purged in less than 1 second, so that argon flow is shut off between tests. All this means operators can use a small argon can located in the handle of the analyzer. Operators typically obtain 150 samples tested with a single canister of argon. Because the argon canisters are so small, they are available same day or next day virtually anywhere in the world!
What’s the Pipeline App?
The pipeline app is what is used to test the pipeline materials and welds. It has the testing protocol suggested by pipeline industry leaders pre-set. For example, the testing method perform 5 tests, rejects the highest and lowest value, and reports the average of the remaining three results. Test time is about 15 s. The App also recommends switching to a Type Standardization approach for CE values in the 0.4-0.5 range in order to “dial in” the accuracy in this critical chemistry range. Type Standardization allows with typical 5L or A105 chemistries, chosen with CE values at 0.4 and 0.5, are included.