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Identification of alloys using quantitative chemical analysis is an essential step during a metallurgical failure analysis process. There are several methods available for quantitative analysis of metal alloys, and the analyst should carefully approach selection of the method used. The choice of appropriate analytical techniques is determined by the specific chemical information required, the condition of the sample, and any limitations imposed by interested parties. This article discusses some of the commonly used quantitative chemical analysis techniques for metals. The discussion covers the operating principles, applications, advantages, and disadvantages of optical emission spectroscopy (OES), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), X-ray spectroscopy, and ion chromatography (IC). In addition, information on combustion analysis and inert gas fusion analysis is provided.

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