Tube-end alloy analysis with HH LIBS

September 18, 2020

When James Terrell of SciAps arrived at a customer location to train the team on how to use LIBS for testing Low Re material, no one was expecting that the day would produce a groundbreaking solution using SciAps Z-200 C+.

They first used the handheld analyzer to shoot the sample calibration block. SciAps passed this initial test as accurately as their standard spark OES unit. However, the big challenge lay ahead. The company needed to test exchanger tubes that measure .75” x 0.085” for Low RE, without losing too much wall thickness during the grinding process. Several hundred tubes needed to be tested 100% for Ni-Cr-Cu and carbon. James measured the tube diameter with a micrometer before and after the grinding, and there was close to a .002” wall loss from the grinding—still within API’s allowable T-min but cutting it close.

Another issue with the spectro tests was that their spectrometer required an adapter to test the ID of the tubes, which made it hard to get multiple tubes tested. The SciAps Z-200 C+ shot the diameter without an adapter and without issue, and could get the same analysis as the other device; even better, the SciAps Z measured 4 to 5 tubes in the time the other device measured one tube. The speed of the SciAps Z outdid the competitor’s model 4-1.

As impressed as the company was with the speed of the Z, they still had concerns about the grinding process. They could not risk an operator grinding too deeply into the tube wall, making the tubes unusable. James had an idea. He experimented with analyzing the end of the tube to see if he could get the same results. James prepped the end of the tube, lined it up to the analyzer, and was able to get a perfect analysis. The numbers? Exactly the same as the outside diameter analysis.

Testing tubing edges with SciAps LIBS Z-Series analyzers

James tried again, shooting several more tube ends using the new technique to prove that it could be done effectively for testing the remainder of the tubes. With a little practice, the company’s team members would be able to perform the testing, too. The job could be completed, and quickly, with no worries about wall loss on such a thin piece of material.

While there, James also demonstrated the capabilities of SciAps X-550 handheld X-ray analyzer on other elements, including V and Nb, where it outperformed the XRF device the company was currently using. In addition, the X-550 measured the P on their test block at a known value of 0.015%, where their current device couldn’t get close. The X-550 then measured 0.016%, 0.016%, 0.017% back to back on the 0.015% known standard.

James then worked with the company rep to build a customized reporting template to download and review the Low Re test results. Through the training, James was able to solve a dire tube testing problem, improve their XRF analysis and set up the reporting template for all of their tests. With SciAps products and staff, if you have a pain point, we will find a solution.

SciAps, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of handheld XRF and LIBS analyzers, able to measure virtually every element, in almost any material. These breakthrough instruments have been expanding applications for portable, in-field measurements of elements, minerals and compounds in every major industry around the world. Sign up for our e-mail list to be the first to hear about this expanding world of handheld analysis, or contact us to talk to one of our industry specialists.

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