Field Spectroscopy – Spark Testing

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  7. Field Spectroscopy – Spark Testing

Spark testing involves the use of a field portable electronic instrument specifically designed to analyze metals and measure and quantify the chemical content. The instrument gives elemental content of metallic and non-metallic compounds which make up the material under analysis and will give the percentage content of the elements present.


  • Determining whether the carbon, chromium, and nickel dilutions in pressure vessel overlays are within the range required for optimized corrosion resistance
  • Evaluating the carbon equivalent of an old part to be re-welded; based on this, one can assess what special welding procedures may be required to make reliable repairs
  • Ensuring that the correct grade of an alloy has been welded to a certain equipment circuit in petrochemical plants and refineries
  • Sorting materials; based on the test, one determines whether different materials have been inadvertently mixed or whether batches of parts were made from the same raw materials
  • Semi-quantitative analysis to provide information regarding the concentrations of specific elements in a metal sample
  • Determining the concentrations of elements in an alloy
  • Identifying whether or not the tested sample meets the user specified grade


  • Equipment is highly portable
  • Results are obtained on-the spot with experienced technicians performing analysis
  • Testing is set up to analyze specific base models and will analyze for samples with an Iron, Nickel, or Copper base only


  • Sample must have an overall thickness greater than 0.5 mm (0.020 inch)
  • Burn or alteration occurs in the test material up to a depth of 0.25 mm (0.010 inch) depending on the analysis performed
  • Test must be performed within specific temperature criteria to ensure both the accuracy of the analysis and the integrity of the equipment.
  • Ambient temperature must be between -20 °C(-4 °F) and +40 °C (104 °F)
  • Material to be analyzed must be at a temperature of no greater than 75 °C (167 °F)
  • Access to power required
  • Where the sample is curved or round the diameter must be greater than 25 mm (1 inch)
  • Magnetic samples will cause disruption to the arc and should not be analyzed
  • Clean surface representative of the material is required