AMG Analytical Services delivers first class inorganic analytical testing services to a diverse customer base for whom quality and integrity of service is paramount. The laboratory activities are accredited to the ISO 17025 (UKAS) and 9001:2008 laboratory and quality management standards. Analytical services include ICP-OES, XRF/XRD, atomic absorption, microscopy, and chromatography, among others.
ICP - OES
When a material is heated sufficiently it will emit visible light in a discrete spectrum, characteristic of the elements in the material. Each element has its unique atomic emission spectrum (both visible light and x-rays). For ICP a sample is dissolved in acid and the solution is “burned” in an argon plasma. Optical emission spectrometers determine analyte concentration via a quantitative measurement of the optical emission from the excited atoms.
As with any analytical method, sample preparation is crucial and AMG-Analytical was one of the early pioneers of the Borate glass bead technique. This is a valuable way to eliminate errors with materials which exhibit varying composition or are difficult to present in other forms. The x-rays used for X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) have as wide a range of wavelengths as possible. The beam of x-rays enters the atoms of the sample and for each different element one wavelength (“color”) of x-rays is given out; the characteristic radiation. The detector is moved to the position at which the characteristic radiation for each element being analyzed leaves the sample and registers the strength of the beam. The intensity (strength) of the characteristic x-rays given out measures the amount of that element in the sample.
A beam of x-rays enters the sample surface and is reflected by the very small crystals in the sample. When it is reflected the single beam of x-rays is split so the x-rays come out of the sample in several beams at different angles to the sample. The instrument has a detector that swings around the sample as the sample itself is rotated and registers the position and strength of these beams. This data is plotted by software as strength (intensity) vs. position (angle) to give a series of ‘peaks’ or ‘lines’, which is called the diffraction pattern. To identify the compounds present in a mixture, the pattern obtained is compared to a large database of patterns. Often there are overlapping lines so experience and judgment are important.
Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
Atomic absorption spectrometers use the absorption of light to measure the concentration of gas phase atoms. The light that is focused into the flame is produced by a hollow cathode lamp, inside which is the sample and an anode. A high voltage is passed between the cathode and anode and the metal atoms are excited into producing light with a certain emission spectrum.
Leco C, S The principle of Carbon analysis is to oxidize the sample by heating in an Oxygen atmosphere to form CO2, which is then measured by infrared detector (and for S to form SO2). The heating is generally done in a high frequency induction furnace as this provides both speed and accuracy. It is imperative that complete combustion is achieved in order to gain accurate results. Leco N, O AMG Analytical Services utilizes the inert gas fusion method for Nitrogen analysis. This is typically based on a furnace with water-cooled copper electrodes. The principle is to fuse the sample in a high purity graphite crucible in the furnace by taking it to very high temperatures (3000oC) in an inert gas. Nitrogen in the sample is released as molecular Nitrogen (N2), which is measured using a thermal conductivity cell. Oxygen in the sample reacts with the Carbon in the crucible to form CO or CO2, which is then measured by infrared detection. Hydrogen The sample is heated in a crucible in a current of Helium. The hydrogen is released/extracted into the helium gas and detected using thermal conductivity.
Colorimetric and Volumetric
AMG Analytical Services carries out several classical wet methods of analysis.
AMG Analytical Services offers a number of techniques for particle size measurement from traditional classical methods, through sieve testing to the most popular – laser diffraction. Laser diffraction is generally the method of choice for many customers due to its rapidity and robustness. It is an ensemble technique capable of measuring large samples over a wide size range and it also has high sensitivity to oversize material.
Specific Surface Area
BET is a well-known rule for the physical adsorption of gas molecules on a solid surface, and is the basis for an analysis technique for the measurement of the specific surface area of a material. Gas absorption is the most widely used and accurate technique for total surface area measurements. Gas molecules of known sizes are condensed onto the unknown sample surface. By completely covering the surface and opening the pores of each particle with a condensed gas the surface area analyzer can characterize the surface, including irregularities and pore interiors down to an atomic level. The technique requires a clean surface as the sample has to be taken to an elevated temperature under vacuum to “outgas” as a necessary step.
Sample preparation for light microscopy presents some challenges as a highly polished flat surface is usually required for best results. All microscopes contain a lens, which bends light to allow a clearer image to be seen. In a light microscope the lens magnifies small things so that they appear larger. The laboratory has many years of experience in metallographic sample preparation, testing and examination. In particular it carries out daily checks on the company`s range of aluminum-based master alloys and grain refiners.
WEEE and RoHS
WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is a European directive that aims to minimize the impact of waste electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. It seeks to achieve this by making producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and by obliging distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge. RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances) is a European directive, which bans the placing on the European market of new EEE more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, poly-brominated biphenyl (PPB) and poly-brominated di-phenyl ether (PBDE).
The REACh regulation is a complex piece of legislation. At AMG Analytical Services we know what the essentials are, understand the common pitfalls, and can help and advise on the best approach to handle REACh in a cost-effective way and ensure compliance. We can provide accredited test reports for all substances that must be registered and as part of our service we provide you with the necessary analysis required to complete and comply with the REACh registration requirements. We have tested and supported dossiers for over 50 different substances, ranging from acids to alkalis, oxides to metals and have been selected as the official test laboratory for several consortia including Manganese and Boron, so you can be confident you are in experienced and expert hands.
Ion chromatography is typically used for analysis of anions, bromides, chlorides, fluorides, nitrates, nitrides, total oxidized nitrogen and sulphates .It is a process that allows the separation of ions and polar molecules based on the charge properties of the molecules. It is a powerful technique for determining low concentrations of ions. It involves the retention of analyte molecules from the sample being retained based on ionic interactions. The method starts with the introduction of a sample into a sample loop of known volume. An aqueous solution (mobile phase) carries the sample from the loop onto a column containing a stationary phase (typically a resin or gel matrix). The stationary phase contains charged groups. The target analytes are retained on the stationary phase. The analytes of interest are detected by some means, typically by conductivity or light absorbance.