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5 Benefits of Automatic Flux Measurement

Sample preparation is an essential yet time-consuming aspect of x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy. It typically requires sample materials to be ground to fine consistencies in a multi-step homogenization process and separated into small powder samples of unerring uniformity. These individual samples are then dosed with one or more chemical reagents designed to facilitate fusion of sample particles at high temperatures.

The Importance of Flux Measurement

Borate flux is the primary agent in XRF sample preparation. Pure lithium tetraborate (Li2B4O7) is occasionally used to dissolve mineral oxides at temperatures exceeding 1000°C (1832°F), but borate salts are rarely used in isolation for fusion flux. Typically, a mix of lithium tetraborate and lithium metaborate (Li2B4O7) are used in tightly-controlled ratios that are dependent upon the elemental composition of the sample under test. Inefficient flux measurement can have significant impacts on the accuracy of test results with potential ramifications for datasets and the service lives of chemically-sensitive components.

Manual flux measurement is at odds with the ultra-precision of XRF spectroscopy, which can detect elements in samples at the sub-parts per million (ppm) range. Automatic flux measurement tools eliminate the potential for human error and provide a comprehensive sample preparation process that meets the standards of XRF analysis.

This blog post will explore five of the key benefits of automatic flux measurement:

  1. Accuracy

The accuracy of an automatic flux measurement tool is inordinately higher than that of manual weighing. Both xrWeigh systems available from XRF Scientific can dose fusion flux mixtures and additional oxidizing agents to vessels to degrees of accuracy within +/- 1mg. This figure is speed-dependent, but each flux measurement tool can retain high degrees of weighing accuracy at high speeds.

  1. Reliability

It is impossible to account for human error and therefore difficult to quantify the benefits of a reliable, automated flux measurement system over manual weighing. The xrWeigh flux measurement tools are engineered on simple modular principles, with a single system architecture that has been subject to extensive testing.

  1. Low Labour-Intensity

Manual weighing of flux is a labor-intensive process that can significantly slow the throughput of XRF sample preparation. An automatic flux measurement tool is proven to reduce the time taken to dose samples with flux mixtures by up to 75% of manual flux measurement procedures.

  1. Speed of Measurement

The speed of measurement that comes with the elimination of manual weighing depends upon the accuracy and volume requirements of the application, but the xrWeigh Carousel can dose up to 90 vials per hour while sustaining high levels of accuracy.

  1. Higher Throughput

Each of these benefits translates to higher throughput flux measurement for demanding XRF sample preparation applications. It eliminates accuracy errors that originate from inefficient flux weighing and simultaneously improves both the accuracy and traceability of the sample preparation process.

Automatic Flux Measurement with XRF Scientific

XRF Scientific is a world leader in the field of XRF sample preparation. We provide an extensive range of fusion flux products and measurement tools designed to enhance the accuracy and reliability of XRF spectroscopy results by eliminating inconsistencies in the measuring chain before they arise.

If you would like any more information about our automatic flux measurement tools, please do not hesitate to contact us.