Positive Material Identification

Alloy Verification and Material Analysis

Baker Testing provides Positive Material Identification (PMI) services, providing accurate, non-destructive alloy identification and analysis in seconds.

  • Portable spectrometers analyze and identify alloys by grade and material composition.
  • Using an on-board fundamental parameters algorithm program, X-ray Fluorescence PMI analyzers collect and quantify spectrum data to positively identify alloys and provide highly accurate elemental composition without any surface damage, chip removal, or time delay required by other chemical analysis processes.
  • Over 400 alloy grades can be positively identified and reported with highly accurate elemental quantity by percentage.
  • Analyzer function available for elements of low concentration that do not provide an exact match.
  • Alloy Grade Specifications include:
    • Iron Base Alloys
    • Nickel Base Alloys
    • Tool Steel Alloys
    • Copper Base Alloys
    • Low-Alloy (Cr-Mo) steels
    • Cobalt Base Alloys
    • Titanium Base Alloys
    • Aluminum Alloys
    • Pure Elements
    • User Defined Alloy Grades

Advantages and Applications

X-ray Fluorescence Technology (XRF Spectrometry)

When elements of an alloy are excited by x-rays, they emit a definitive wavelength known as characteristic x-rays that is specific to the atomic structure of that element. This phenomenon is known as x-ray fluorescence. The spectral signatures of each detectable element are definitively identified by the analyzer. While light elements such as carbon cannot be detected by XRF technology, most all metals can be positively identified by the composition of primary alloying elements.

Baker Testing uses XRF PMI to support a wide array of customer applications and requirements. When independent verification of the positive alloy confirmation is part of contract requirements, Baker Testing meets and exceeds our customers’ expectations with timely service and detailed reports. Where the composition of an existing component is unknown, BTS PMI technicians can quickly and accurately perform analysis to avoid delays in welding, repair, engineering or replacement. 

Applications for PMI Alloy Verification include:

  • petrochemical and piping components
  • power generation
  • welding procedure confirmation by material and filler analysis
  • casting composition and consistency
  • precious metal identification
  • scrap metal sorting
  • reverse engineering and material supply verification
  • museum and antiquity research
  • forensic investigations

Quantitative Analysis

By measuring the quantity or intensity of secondary / characteristic x-ray energy from a given element’s wavelength, portable XRF analyzers calculate chemical composition to provide highly accurate alloy grade matches and element measurement in seconds.


Baker Testing PMI technicians are extensively trained, tested, and certified for radiation safety procedures and the safe use of XRF equipment. XRF analyzers employed by Baker Testing have built in safety features which prevent accidental exposure with trigger locks and proximity sensors that will not let the analyzer operate unless it is in close contact with an alloy test sample. X-rays that cause an alloy’s elements to fluoresce are completely eliminated by the surface of the test specimen and no radiation exposure is measurable around the analyzer itself.


Baker Testing XRF analyzers are calibrated at the factory and require no user set-up or re-calibration. Prior to analysis, analyzers require a standardization check with a factory supplied 316 stainless steel reference standard. If the known spectral data from that standard falls out of calibrated range, the analyzer will not function.

When required by customer procedures, tests of known, similar alloys can be performed for further proof of accuracy. Analyzers can measure elemental composition to multiple decimal places of displayed and reportable percentages.

Field and In-house Testing

Hand held XRF analyzers are made to be portable for use in a wide range of field applications. Parts that can be easily shipped or brought to our laboratories, XRF PMI can be performed in-house for cost savings.

Precious Metal Application

Baker Testing XRF Delta Premium analyzer has a precious metal feature that will measure pure element concentration and convert percentage of gold composition to Karat values.

Experts in XRF PMI

Baker Testing has over 15 years of experience in XRF Spectrometry. Our trained and qualified technicians use state of the art hand held XRF analyzers. Our PMI procedures conform to the following codes and their related PMI specifications.

(ASME) American Society of Mechanical Engineers

(ANSI) American National Standards Institute

(API) American Petroleum Institute

(PFI) Piping Fabrication Institute

(ASTM) American Society for Testing and Materials

Many fabrication, welding, power, foundry, medical device, petrochemical companies, and material suppliers accept Baker Testing Services general PMI procedure for testing to code conformance. After review of customer-specific PMI procedures, we can usually follow those requirements so that customer procedures take precedence.