Over 80% of the world’s ferrochrome is utilized in the production of stainless steel. It is essential to determine the concentration of chrome (Cr) in this alloy since its high corrosion resistance properties make it a major element in the production of stainless steel. The presence of some penalty elements at trace levels such as sulfur (S), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si) and titanium needs to be known since it affects the steel’s quality and decreases its value.

Fast, accurate and reliable sample preparation and elemental analysis allow direct feedback on changing conditions during the carbothermic reduction process and enables constant premium quality of the ferrochrome output that will result in premium prices. This application note presents a robust method to prepare FeCr samples by borate fusion as well as an extremely precise XRF method to determine Cr as a major element and other low concentration elements required in international standard norms.

Challenges

• Prepare alloy samples with the use of oxidizers.
• Obtain accurate and precise results for non-oxidized samples processed by fusion.
• Determine low-phosphorus and other minor components in ferrochromium alloys. 

Benefits

• Robust method to determine Cr as well as P and S at low concentrations from low to high carbon content alloys. 
• Obtain repeatable and stable results. High throughput  
• Breakthrough in sample preparation by fusion for XRF analysis.


Apparatus and instrumental conditions

Claisse® TheOx® Advanced fusion instrument was used to prepare lithium borate glass disks for the calibration curve. The fusion instrument has ceramic parts compatible with all the previous versions of TheOx instruments. These parts are resistant to high temperatures. The life of the fusion instrument is then increased.  
XRF measurements were performed using a PANalytical sequential wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence instrument.

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