New Copper alloy CRMs: verifying versatile properties

Copper is a versatile metal used for a wide variety of applications. The alloying elements that are combined in Cu provide properties, such as strength, electrical conductivity/resistivity, ductility, luster, and even anti-microbial qualities, that are very desirable for the end user. Verification of the composition of the final alloys is critical to ensuring the material will be fit for use.

Our brand new and long-awaited CRM IARM-Cu844-18 can be used for instrument calibration and/or compositional verification of copper alloy CDA 844 (UNS C84400). CDA 844 is one of the most widely used alloys in the leaded semi-red brass family. It is found in several consumer products, including musical instruments, HVAC equipment, electrical equipment, ornamental fixtures and even valves and building hardware. The versatility of this alloy is boosted by its reasonable cost as well as excellent machining and casting properties, which are achieved by the proper combination of alloying elements Zn, Pb, and Sn. Our semi-leaded red brass, IARM-Cu844-18, falls within grade spec for these critical elements, and its certificate of analysis (CoA) reports certified values for 14 additional elements: Ag, Al, As, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, P, S, Sb, and Se. Reference values are also given for four more elements.



CDA 836 (UNS C83600), also known as 85 metal (85% Cu, 5% each Pb, Sn and Zn), is a leaded red brass copper alloy that is the most commonly used alloy in this brass family. CDA 836 has good resistance to corrosion, wear and fatigue and also shows good electrical/thermal conductivity and moderate strength. Additionally, it has good machinability and high cast yield. This alloy is typically used for plumbing or marine applications, such as: valves, flanges, pipe/marine fittings, plumbing goods, pump castings, water pump impellers/housings, ornamental fixtures, and small gears. Our CRM IARM-Cu836-18 replaces our popular CRM IARM-86D. The CoA for Cu836-18 contains certified values for the four alloying elements of CDA 836 plus 12 additional trace elements, including Ag, As, Bi, Cd, Co, Fe, Nb, Ni, P, S, Sb, and Se. It is appropriate to use for instrument calibration and/or compositional verification.

Beryllium copper CDA 172 (UNS C17200) alloys have strength and hardness properties similar to steel, while still providing excellent corrosion resistance and electrical conductivity. CDA 172 is harder than most other copper alloys and is commonly used in electrical connectors, current-carrying springs, fasteners, welding equipment, bearings, tools, and corrosion-resistant components. Our new IARM-Cu172-19 CRM replaces our popular CRM IARM-Cu172-18, and the CoA reports certified values for 14 elements, including Ag, Al, Be, Co, Cr, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ni, P, S, Sb, Si, and Sn. Reference values are also provided for seven additional elements.

Written by: Kim Halkiotis  – Posted by: ARMI MBH – LGC (

Super powering solutions for more efficient aluminum smelting

Extraordinary strength, astonishing flexibility, incredible resilience, and striking good looks. No, we’re not talking about your favorite comic-book hero. We’re talking about another everyday champion: aluminum!

Aluminum and its alloys are widely used in a vast range of industries and for a number of applications. The application example is ranging from household appliances to power lines, and from car parts to aerospace components. Furthermore, demand is increasing globally – a trend we can expect to continue in the years to come. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to make aluminum smelting more efficient and sustainable.

The true cost of inefficiency

In recent years, as bauxite quality has started to decline, prices for raw materials have started to rise. Consequently, there is significant increased interest in sustainability topic. Since then, the mining industry has been working hard to make its processes more efficient and sustainable. And in few places is this more critical than in aluminum smelting.

With aluminum extraction being such an energy-intensive process, attaining the highest yield possible from your alumina source is critical to reducing your costs and lowering your environmental impact. Quality control and analytics tools in smelting required careful monitoring, regular calibration, and technical maintenance. Therefore, many have been searching for better ways to drive time, cost, and energy savings.

Big problems, small solutions

With Malvern Panalytical’s innovative X-ray diffraction (XRD) solutions, we need look no further. Our XRD tools can be used across the aluminum production chain to drive safer and more efficient aluminum smelting process – from ore grading, to analyzing refined alumina, to monitoring crystallinity. Especially in the area of electrolytic bath (potflux) analysis we have made an especially exciting innovation.

Our new XRD technique – combining AERIS benchtop XRD with Rietveld quantification – offers a highly efficient solution for potflux analysis. From preparing the test samples to reporting the results, this tool is a one-stop-shop for measuring and optimizing smelters. And the best part? It’s fully automatable and standardless. Meaning, you can get fast and reliable compositions for a range of materials with minimal user input. Simply load a sample – or let the tool do it for you – enter the sample name and start the measurement. And that’s it – you’ll have your results in as little as 24 seconds!

Smelting solutions are just the start…

By combining XRD technology with Rietveld analysis, we are blazing a path for safer, more user-friendly analysis and more efficient aluminum smelting. But we don’t stop there. Malvern Panalytical offers a range of solutions to optimize your processes throughout the aluminum production chain. For example, our X-ray fluorescence (XRF) tools, such as our Epsilon 4 mining and minerals edition, are effective to ensure that waste composition is within environmental limits, as well as checking for toxicity or impurities.

With these solutions and more, Malvern Panalytical drives the shift towards a more sustainable future for aluminum production. And if you ask us, these industry changes are nothing short of heroic…

Written by: Uwe Konig, Posted by: Malvern Panalytical (

Ask an expert! – Getting the best out of Omnian using an ED spectrometer

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis is a robust analytical technique that provides both qualitative (which elements) and quantitative (how much of that element) information about a sample. The combination of this ‘which?’ and ‘how much?’ makes semi-quantitative analysis possible.

XRF quantitative analysis

In qualitative analysis, peak search and peak match are used to discover which elements are present in the sample. Peak search finds the peaks, and peak match determines the associated elements by referring to a database.

The usual procedure of quantitative analysis in XRF is to calibrate the spectrometer by measuring reference materials. The calibration determines the relationship between the concentrations of specific chemical elements and the intensity of the fluorescent lines of those elements. You can determine unknown concentrations of calibrated elements once this relationship is known. The intensities of the elements with unknown concentrations are measured, with the corresponding concentration being determined from the calibration. A typical limitation of an accurate XRF quantitative analysis is that unknown samples should be prepared in the same way as standards used for calibration, and in many cases to be of the same nature.

What is semi-quantitative analysis

A semi-quantitative analysis in XRF usually is a combination of both, qualitative and quantitative analyses. The semi-quantitative analysis determines the presence of all measurable elements. That is in contrast with “classic” quantitative analysis, which is calibrated only for specific elements present in the standards. Usually, a semi-quantitative analysis has one “universal” calibration that can be applied to specimens of samples of different origins. It can also make a relatively good estimate of concentrations of elements and compounds which weren’t even present in the original calibration.

A semi-quantitative analysis is basically the same for Energy Dispersive (ED) XRF and Wavelength Dispersive (WD) XRF. Both WD and EDXRF are used to identify and determine the concentrations of elements present in solid, powder and liquid samples. The exact same mathematical methods can be used to calculate the composition of samples. The only difference is that in EDXRF the area of a peak gives the intensity, while in WDXRF the height of a peak gives the intensity.

Omnian Standardless analysis

Omnian is a Malvern Panalytical XRF application package that can provide (semi-)quantitative* chemical composition analysis of virtually any sample that one can place in an XRF spectrometer. Usually, we use it in situations where specific calibration standards are not available. Or we use it when samples are out-of-scope of normal laboratory routines.

When faced with non-routine samples or materials for which there are no certified reference materials, the software provides insight into the elemental composition. Its advanced fundamental parameters algorithm automatically deals with the analytical challenges posed by samples of widely differing types.

Get the best out of your Omnian analysis

Omnian is an “open” application package and users can make some changes to the default parameters to improve precision, accuracy, or Lower Limits of Detection in their measurements. It is a powerful tool but, are you making the most of it? If you want to make sure you know how to get proper analysis results out of it or have questions regarding your Omnian analysis, then join the next ‘Ask an Expert!’ webinar titled ‘Getting the best out of Omnian using an ED spectrometer’.


Written by: Vincent Kip, Posted by: Malvern Panalytical (