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Aluminum Production

How Bruker's analytical technology helps to meet production targets, insures quality and saves costs in the aluminum industries.

X-ray fluorescence

XRF provides chemical analysis for materials characterization, grade and process control. XRF is routinely used not only during exploration and exploitation in the mining process but also during alumina production, in the electrolysis, and finally in metals characterization. Typically analyzed materials comprise bauxite; alumina and red mud; additives to the electrolysis such as cryolite, CaF2, AlF3, MgF2, or LiF; the bath electrolyte itself; cast aluminum and its alloys. Furthermore, refractory materials, raw material for anode production and the anode coals are investigated with XRF.

Micro-XRF offers the analysis of elemental composition, distribution and coating inhomogeneity in accordance with industrial standards for routine quality control and failure analysis. Bruker's tabletop instruments provide quick, non-destructive analysis by X-ray tube and collimation down to 0.5 mm, or polycapillary optic down to 20 µm.

X-ray diffraction

XRD directly measures the mineralogy. Knowing about minerals' impurities such as clay or iron ore in bauxite is the key to beneficiation in the alumina refinery and thus reduces residues. In the smelter XRD measures the mineralogy of the congealed electrolyte. Control parameters are derived that are essential for managing the operation of the smelter cells. Furthermore, the anode quality is monitored by XRD.

Electron microscope analyzers

Electron microscope analyzers such as the QUANTAX system provide non-destructive methods and tools to perform spatially resolved compositional and crystallographic analyses. Scanning and transmission electron microscopes (SEM and TEM) offer extremely high resolution and the opportunity to use the Bruker QUANTAX EDS system to perform energy dispersive spectrometry for inorganic material analysis at the highest of spatial resolutions.

Using the XSense wavelength-dispersive spectrometer, challenging materials in the low energy or light element range can be better determined due to its excellent energy resolution. Using the SEM based QUANTAX EBSD (electron back-scattered diffraction) system, crystal orientation maps can be acquired to understand the crystallography and phase boundaries, and study deformations in materials. Lastly, the XTrace allows the combination of Micro-XRF and EDS analysis on the SEM, providing the high sensitivity to trace elements of Micro-XRF and the light element performance of EDS.

Optical emission spectroscopy

OES is another chemical analysis technology. OES simultaneously measures a wide range of elements. It is used in metals and alloys characterization. A particular strength is its sensitivity to light elements. Thus, it perfectly complements and backs-up XRF.