Safety of people in modern transport

One metal shaving, and five minutes are enough

Timely diagnosis of engine wear is key to safety of people using aircraft, automobiles or railway trains. Analysis of engine oils is one of the main types of such applications.

Engine oils contain fine wear products as well as particles of metals and alloys in the form of shavings. Elemental analysis of such pieces permits determination of the engine part wearing out, and measurement of concentrations of main alloy/steel components in oil helps to estimate the degree of wear of that part.

Testing laboratories of many major airlines use X-ray fluorescence spectrometers for fast analysis of small metal shavings. Energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometers such as Shimadzu’s EDX-7000P/8000P (figure 1) are suitable tools for such analysis. The EDX-7000P and EDX-8000P instruments are BfS (safety standards of the German Federal Institute for Safety) type approval certified.

Figure 1: EDX-7000P/8000P

Both spectrometers are equipped with an automatic collimator switching system and a sample observation camera for local analysis and small sample measurements. Advanced PCEDX Navi software is specially designed for less experienced users.

Standardless quantitative fast analysis of small metal particles

Can the EDX-7000P/8000P spectrometers be used successfully for standardless quantitative fast analysis of small metal particles? In an experiment, measurement of one stainless steel shaving by EDX-8000P was performed to estimate the capabilities of EDX spectrometers for standardless quantitative elemental analysis of metal microparticles by Fundamental Parameters (FP) method. Stainless steel is used in the production of valves for aircraft, automobile and tractor diesel engines and fastenings for engines.

One shaving of stainless steel GH2036 (China) in the native form was placed in the center of the sample compartment (figure 2).

Figure 2: Sample display screen in PCEDX Navi

A collimator of 1 mm diameter was selected for the analysis. A routine measurement procedure of unknown sample by FP method was used, as included in the standard spectrometer software. The spectrum of the sample is shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: EDX spectrum of GH2036 shaving

Total analysis time including placement of the sample in the cell was less than five minutes.


Results of the analysis are shown in table 1. The results show an excellent match of quantitation and certified values.

Table 1: Quantitative Value of GH2036 sample by FP Method

The analysis results show that the EDX-7000P/8000P can be used successfully for standardless quantitative fast analysis of small metal particles without any sample preparation.