Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Diran Apelian, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Daniel Backman, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Richard D. Sisson, Jr., Department Head




The aluminum industry is in need of high-speed in-situ elemental identification technology for molten metals. wTe Corporation of Bedford, MA was granted funds to research this technology for aluminum through the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). As a secondary metal scrap processor, wTe Corporation is interested in increasing the value of scrap and better identification technology is one way of doing this. With better identification technology, foundries and smelters will be more confident in the melt chemistry and more apt to use secondary aluminum which decreases the energy required for processing by approximately 85%. wTe Corporation is exploring two avenues for in-situ molten metal identification: Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF). The objectives of this work were to contribute to developing XRF technology for in-situ identification of molten metal by establishing a method of data instrumentation and analysis for XRF to determine aluminum melt composition, investigate the major alloying elements in the Al380 alloy series and determine the relationship between intensity and concentration, and to determine the effect of temperature on XRF Spectra. The XRF instrumentation development and the technical challenges associated with high temperature measurements are presented. The relationship between intensity and concentration is presented for three alloys within the 380 alloy series, and lastly it is observed that there are significant differences between liquid and solid spectra and that a calibration curve for liquid data is necessary. Several hypotheses are given as to why this difference between liquid and solid state spectra may occur.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Materials Science & Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





x-ray fluorescence, XRF, molten aluminum