Inductive Coupled Plasma for Rookies: Shedding Light on The Technology Behind an Assay Analysis

Inductive Coupled Plasma for Rookies

You know that when you sell your catalytic converters to a processor, your material will be assayed. That means that your converters go through analysis technology, like XRF benchtop, which we covered in our latest video. But that's not the only option for analysis. Let's uncover the science behind the Inductive Coupled Plasma (ICP) device, an alternative to the XRF benchtop. To learn everything you need to know about ICP, watch our video or keep reading.

What is ICP?

Using light intensity, the Inductive Coupled Plasma machine measures your sample to calculate the amount of key precious metals—platinum, palladium, and rhodium—in your converters. In the scrap converter processing industry, ICP is the golden standard for all assay analysis. Let’s take a look under the hood and explore how this device works.

How Does ICP Work?

The sample taken from your converters is turned into a liquid so that it can pass through a small tube. From this tube, the sample is aspirated by a pump into a nebulizer, where it mixes with Argon gasses to create small droplets that can pass into the spray chamber.

In the spray chamber, the system separates the droplets by size to maximize accuracy. Then, the finest droplets travel into the plasma, which is heated to around 10,000 degrees Celsius. At this incredibly high temperature, the atoms of the sample absorb huge amounts of energy, and when the energy is expelled from the plasma, it releases light.

Each element’s light intensity is on a different wavelength. To measure each element present in your material, processors will measure each wavelength.

Using ICP is a precise method that allows toll-refiners to determine the content of your material with maximum accuracy. At PMR, our in-house laboratory uses both XRF and ICP devices to ensure an accurate reading of your material. We understand that having clear and accurate results allows you to make the most informed decisions for your material, whether it’s to hedge, toll, or request payment.

Get more information about Assay or XRF devices or visit our Resource Center.

Published: September 19, 2023
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