Elemental Analysis Using Custom Glass Components for Systems

Elemental analysis is important in many occupations to ensure the health, safety, integrity, and composition of materials. This method for determining composition is a common technique in laboratories today. Processes that use elemental analysis include X-ray fluorescence (XRF), absorption atomic spectroscopy (AAS), and inductively coupled plasma (ICP) techniques: ICP-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and ICP-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

Precision Electronic Glass manufactures custom glass components that make elemental analysis possible for many of these testing techniques. In fact, scientific analytic components are among the wide range of customized glass fabrication handled by the PEG team. This team specializes in shrinking glass and quartz tubing into precision bore tubing. In addition, they are experts in glass fabrication, finishing, glass machining and glass blowing to produce unique glass components to fit special circumstances, environments, and equipment.

Elemental Analysis
Analyzing a product to determine its composition.

What is the Purpose of Elemental Analysis?

Elemental analysis uses a sample of some material to analyze its elemental and sometimes isotopic composition. This method of testing works for a variety of materials in many different industries ranging from food processing and water treatment to drug safety and crime investigation. Similarly, elemental analysis works on solids, liquids, or gases. For example, elemental analysis operates equally well with soil, waste or drinking water, body fluids, minerals, or chemical compounds.

Elemental Analysis
Classic and modern analytic methods are regularly in use.

What Types of Elements vs. How Much

Plus, elemental analysis can be both qualitative, and it can be quantitative. Typically, elemental analysis determines the quantity of a particular element within a molecule or material.

Elemental analysis subdivides in two ways:

  • Qualitative to determine what elements are present or the presence of a particular element.
  • Quantitative to determine how much of a particular or each element is present.

Elemental analysis also has two general categories that relate to the approach involving the determination of quantities.

  • Classical analysis, which relies on processing by hand, uses a chemical reaction to determine desired quantitative data.
  • Modern methods are usually software-driven and rely on nuclear structure or size (mass) of a particular element and are generally limited to solid samples.
Elemental Analysis
Safety, health, even farming benefit from elemental analysis.

The Importance of How Much When It Comes to Elemental Analysis

For many reasons, knowing how much of a particular substance is in a product is critical. Too much of a certain gas can make a product volatile. Too much of a vitamin, drug, or chemical in your bloodstream can make it deadly. Getting the chemical breakdown of the food nutrition wrong on the label of a product could be harmful to children and adults with allergies. On another note, getting the alloys wrong in an ore composition can make the difference between a rich miner and a poor one. Doing an inaccurate analysis of a farmer’s soil can cause a crop to fail and lead to a major loss for the farm.

Many classical methods of elemental analysis can be further classified into the following categories:

  • Gravimetric – separate a sample from the solution as a precipitate and weigh it. This is generally a good approach for alloys, ceramics, and minerals.
  • Volumetric – the determination of the volume of a substance that combines with another substance in known proportions.
  • Colorimetric (spectroscopic) analysis – common in medical laboratories as well as in the analysis of industrial wastewater treatment.

The biggest limitation in classical methods is most often due to sample manipulation rather than equipment error. For example, operator error in weighing a sample or observing an endpoint. In contrast, the errors in modern analytical methods are almost entirely computer sourced and inherent in the software that analyzes and fits the data.

Scientist busy with analysis.

About PEG

PEG’s mission is to provide customized glass and quartz products and related products and services to OEMs and distributors around the world in countries where our customers operate. Our objective is to fabricate the finest precision glass and quartz components and assemblies to customers’ specifications. Working together with customers, PEG manufactures prototypes; handles small to large production runs; performs value-added assembly, and provides cleanroom processing when specifications dictate the need for it.

Utilizing standard or computer-controlled glass lathe fabrication; glass-to-glass and glass-to-metal graded seals; cutting and end finishing; and precision grinding/polishing, PEG produces a variety of components and value-added assemblies, including medical, dental, or industrial glass X-ray tubes, and CO2 or HeNe lasers. We produce all glass and quartz fabrications in facilities certified to ISO 9001:2015 standards of quality. Our commitment to quality and integrity in everything we do is reflected in our mission statement, corporate values, and quality policy.