Elemental analysis of metals and alloys
A metal is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically malleable and/or ductile. A metal may be a chemical element such as iron, or an alloy such as stainless steel.
A variety of analysis techniques are used for metals and alloys to determine the alloy composition to verify conformance or to identify an alloy. Quantitative chemical analysis may be performed several ways, but spark optical emission spectroscopy (Spark OES) is most widely used. Spark OES can be performed with only minimal surface damage if the specimen size configuration allow the part to fit into the instrument without cutting.