Are you using the correct alloy?

PMI Testing

Selecting the material you will use for your project is very important. You need to ensure it will have the right properties for the application and how you will work with it. More often than not you will be looking for the perfect alloy. This is because alloys can have a better array of properties than pure metals. However, if you are planning to use one, you need to know the exact chemical composition. The best way to do this is PMI testing.

What are alloys?

Before we look further at testing, it is a good idea to understand what an alloy is. Basically, when you create one, you mix a base metal with one or more alloying agents. These could be other metals or non-metal elements such as carbon. The end result is a material that has new properties.

The problem with alloys is it is very difficult to get the composition exact every time. For example, a stainless steel can be around 50% iron plus anywhere from 10% – 30% chromium plus smaller amounts of other elements such as carbon, manganese, and nickel.

What you will usually find with alloys is that each batch is slightly different. It may only be a few percent here or there, but it could have a dramatic impact on a final product. As a result it is vital to test each material to ensure you have a clearer idea of the chemical composition.

PMI testing

Positive material identification testing uses sophisticated equipment to check alloys. The goal is to determine the elemental composition as well as the grade. There are many different PMI methods, but the most common are XRF and OES. At Format NDT Ltd we excel at the first of these.

The full name for the method of PMI testing we specialise in is x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. It utilises x-rays to accurately determine which elements are within an alloy.

There are several advantages to using this kind of testing. Firstly, it can provide very fast results. In addition, the equipment is light and tends to be very easy to use. More importantly, it is portable so users can test materials in various locations. It is also a useful method even if you are only testing a small sample of a material.

We can use the testing to inspect a huge array of alloys, including those of stainless steel, copper, titanium, aluminium, and more. Our X-MET 5000 XRF Analyser has up to date libraries of alloys so we can provide accurate reports.

Talk to us about testing

If you want to arrange PMI testing, you can contact us. We are happy to provide advice and can answer any questions. Then, if you ask us to test materials for you, we can arrange to do it on-site or in our own laboratory. All tests will be done by qualified experts so you can trust their validity.