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Identifying Precious Metal Alloys on Your Bench and In Your Case

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Presentation Outline

1. Testing jewelry materials
2. What is XRF?
3. Who uses it?
4. Jewelry and other precious metals applications
5. Examples of XRF results
6. How accurate/precise are the results?
7. Instrumentation options

For more information, visit: https://www.olympus-ims.com/en/vanta-for-precious-metals-analysis/

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Identifying Precious Metal Alloys on Your Bench and In Your Case

  1. 1. Olympus Analytical Instruments | Jennifer Caban Portland, OR, Oct. 2017 Identifying Precious Metal Alloys on Your Bench and in Your Case Portland Jewelry Symposium 2017
  2. 2. Page 2 Olympus is a Global Organization Founded in Tokyo, Japan 1919 Expanded to Europe 1964 Followed by the Americas 1968 Followed by Asia Pacific 2011 Opened under the name Takachiho Seisakusho
  3. 3. Page 3 Consumer Products Group Scientific Solutions Group Medical Group PRECISION IMAGING TECHNOLOGY
  4. 4. Speaker Credentials ¡ 8 years working with X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction technologies in both technical and sales support roles ¡ Currently serves as a Sales Engineer (technical specialist) supporting the Olympus Americas sales network ¡ Works with many industries, including scrap metal recycling, large- scale and small-scale mining, government regulations, consumer product manufacturing, environmental remediation, infrastructure inspection, oil & gas production, academic geology, anthropology and earth science, and precious metals refining and trading ¡ In charge of business development efforts for mining, geochemistry, and earth science applications for Olympus Americas ¡ Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Economics from Bates College Jennifer Caban
  5. 5. 1. Testing jewelry materials 2. What is XRF? 3. Who uses it? 4. Jewelry and other precious metals applications 5. Examples of XRF results 6. How accurate/precise are the results? 7. Instrumentation options Agenda
  6. 6. ¡ Sight: naked eye or jeweler’s loupe; must be an expert ¡ Feel or bite/scratch test ¡ Weight/density ¡ Magnet test ¡ Markings (925, 14k, etc.) ¡ Nitric acid ¡ Laboratory assay: fire assay, ICP, atomic absorption, titration ¡ XRF! (X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy) How are Jewelry Materials Verified?
  7. 7. XRF = X-Ray Fluorescence ¡ Note: Olympus also does XRD − XRD = X-Ray Diffraction ¡ Shorter wavelengths = higher energy
  8. 8. ¡ The study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation Spectroscopy
  9. 9. What is X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy?
  10. 10. XRF at the Atomic Level Nucleus − Protons − Neutron Electrons − Orbit around the nucleus Orbit − Aka “energy shell” X-rays impact electrons
  11. 11. X-Ray Fluorescence Physics
  12. 12. Lost electron
  13. 13. Fluorescent Energy Element-specific signature energy emitted
  14. 14. XRF is a Statistical Method Ni Fe Cr Mo Test Sample Up to 300,000 photons/second
  15. 15. ChemistryCalculationMeasurementRe-EmissionExcitationX-Ray Emission XRF Testing Process Mn F eNi Cr
  16. 16. ¡ After excitation, the atoms return to their original state XRF is Completely Nondestructive
  17. 17. Unlike Other Forms of Jewelry Testing
  18. 18. Human Origins 50.05% Natural Origins 49.95% Sources of Radiation Exposure (in the US) ¡ 620 mRem, typical annual exposure Source: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/sources.html
  19. 19. Medical Procedures 35.96% Nuclear Medicine 11.99% Consumer Products 2.00% Industrial and Occupational 0.10% Radon and Thoron 36.96% Cosmic (space) 5.00% Terrestrial (soil) 3.00% Internal 5.00% Sources of Radiation Exposure (in the US) 620 mRem, typical annual exposure Source: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/sources.html
  20. 20. Active Monitoring and Typical Exposures ¡ Olympus employees who use XRF are actively monitored for radiation exposure ¡ All Olympus employees are <20 mREM per year Activity Exposure Smoking 280 mREM per year Mammogram 70 mREM Dental X-ray 10 mREM per X-ray Chest X-ray 8 mREM per X-ray Drinking water 5 mREM per year Cross country flight 5 mREM per trip Source: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/around-us/doses-daily-lives.html Source: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/rad-health-effects.html
  21. 21. Occupational Limits (in US) Maximum Permissible Limits from – National Council on Radiation Protection (USA) – International Commission on Radiological Protection – Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USA) – State of Massachusetts (Local Example) – Health & Human Resources -Dept of Public Health Portion of Exposure Limit (mREM/yr) Hands & Feet 50,000 Eyes (lens) 15,000 Skin 50,000 Thyroid 50,000 Whole Body 5,000 Source: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/radiation/health-effects/info.html
  22. 22. Applications
  23. 23. Built-In GPS Enables Contamination Mapping in Real Time
  24. 24. ¡ Gold (Au), silver (Ag), and platinum group metals (PGMs) ¡ Non-precious alloying metals ¡ Contaminants ¡ Can detect Au plating ¡ Can differentiate and detect some fake gemstones—ex.) diamond and cubic zirconia, turquoise, and leaded glass Jewelry Applications
  25. 25. ¡ Gold and other precious metals in electronic scrap ¡ Verify the chemistry of incoming materials ¡ QA/QC of manufactured components ¡ Coating thickness ¡ Car catalyst analysis Other Precious Metals Applications
  26. 26. ¡ XRF is a surface analysis technique ¡ In metals, the penetration is approximately 10–30 microns ¡ Human hair thickness is 17–180 microns ¡ Olympus also makes ultrasonic testing (UT) instruments ¡ Ultrasonic waves traveling through any medium will continue propagating in the same direction until they strike a boundary with a different material ¡ Reflections coming from inside a gold bar, rather than the opposite surface, change the pattern and indicate either an insert of another metal or an internal void Fake Gold Bars
  27. 27. Examples Photos courtesy Jennifer Caban
  28. 28. Gold Leaves Low Au indicates that the leaves are gold plated. This is a copper alloy with thin gold plating. Photos courtesy Jennifer Caban
  29. 29. Sterling Silver Earrings Cadmium is a highly toxic metal. It should not be in jewelry! The earring is labeled “925,” which means it should be 92.5% Ag. In fact, it is only 82.7% Ag. Photos courtesy Jennifer Caban
  30. 30. The post (the part that goes in your ear) has an even higher cadmium concentration. This is not good. The European Union’s RoHS directive limits the concentration of dangerous substances in electronics. According to this standard, cadmium should be below 0.01% in electronics. The earring posts have > 20% cadmium!
  31. 31. ¡ The sample is the biggest factor − Is it homogeneous? − Does it have surface contamination? ¡ Technology is also a factor − Detector type and resolution − Si PiN or SDD − Electronics’ stability ¡ Analysis time − Generally, longer is better − Maximum of 60 seconds for alloys How Reliable are the Results?
  32. 32. XRF Versus Other Techniques Techniques Options Typical Accuracy Fire assay cuppelation Gold only 0.02% Inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) Complete analysis 0.10% X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) Complete analysis 0.1–0.5% Acid test (touchstone method) Gold only 1–2% Electronic pen Gold only 4–8% Density Gold only Low
  33. 33. Repeatability 5 Sec on 18K 72.5 73 73.5 74 74.5 75 75.5 76 76.5 77 77.5 -3 2 7 12 17 22 Reading # %Au Delta Au Competitive Inst Cert. Repeatability 20 Sec on 18K 72.5 73 73.5 74 74.5 75 75.5 76 76.5 77 77.5 -3 2 7 12 17 22 Reading # %Au Delta Au Competitive Inst Cert. repeatability 5 sec for 18K Au 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 -3 2 7 12 17 22 reading Nr. Au%GoldXpert Au Gold Xpert Certified Value repeatability 10 sec for 18K Au 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 -3 2 7 12 17 22 reading Nr. Au%GoldXpert Au Gold Xpert Certified Value
  34. 34. ¡ On-site demonstration ¡ Short-term trial − Make sure you have at least one certified reference material ¡ Leasing and/or rent-to-own options? ¡ Warranty? Service plans? ¡ Industry references ¡ Beware cheap knockoffs Choosing an XRF Analyzer
  35. 35. Olympus is a registered trademark, and Vanta is a trademark of Olympus Corporation.

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