Your preconceived ideas about fusion can prevent you from enjoying the benefits of this technique. Let’s have a closer look at six common misconceptions.
1. Fusion is only used to prepare samples for XRF analysis
Don’t get it wrong: sample preparation by fusion can also be used for inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA) analysis.
2. The sample melts in the flux
The sample does not melt in the flux, it dissolves in it. Dissolution involves two substances (a solute, which is the sample, and a solvent, which is the flux) while melting involves only one substance that liquifies when exposed to heat. In fusion, the sample must completely dissolve in the molten borate flux.
3. Fusion = High risk of burns
Automated fusion is safer than manual fusion. Instruments have locked heating chambers or safety cabinets that prevent spills. Also, cooling time is always included in the fusion cycle to avoid risks of injuries. In short, you can only touch vessels when they are completely cooled.
4. Fusion only works for a limited range of samples
Many people think only cements and iron ores can be prepared with fusion. It’s far from reality! In fact, a wide range of samples can be prepared using this technique (alloys, oils, cosmetics, polymers, paints, fine industry catalysts, and more).
5. Glass disks are fragile
Appropriate fusion methods lead to the obtention of stable and resistant glass disks. They won’t get damaged in the spectrometer or break if they fall on the floor for example. On the other hand, samples prepared with the wrong fusion method will have the tendency to break more easily.
6. I can keep my glass disks wherever I want
The condition of glass disks is altered by humidity in the air, that’s why you must keep your disks in a dry environment such as a desiccator. This way, you prevent disks from getting blurry or frosted as a result of humidity absorption.
Any questions or comments regarding the points mentioned above? Feel free to contact our experts for more information!
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