How Does A Handheld XRF Analyzer Gun Work?
XRF analyzers have 4 “main” components. They have a radiation source, a detector, a processor, an for lack of a better word, “electronics”
The Radiation source is either a gamma or xray radiation source. It is concentrated in a “ray beam” (yeah, this shit is futuristic) and “shot” at the metal you want to test.
For lack of a better explanation, the energy of the radiation is absorbed by the atoms of the alloy you are working with. Then, billionths of a seconds later, the energy that was absorbed is released. This released radiation gets shot in many directions, and some of it will hit the XRF gun’s “detector.”
The detector works similar to a geiger counter. It’s job is to measure the radiation. But unlike a geiger counter, it needs to do so with much more precision, measuring the exact frequencies energy levels of the “reflected” radiation.
By using a chart like this one, a processor will determine from the incoming radiation which atoms are present.
Depending on what the processor determines, the screen will display the percentages of the different types of metals. So, for example, you will see 18% Cr, 8% Ni, and 70% Fe when you are test a sample of 304 stainless steel, aka 18-8 stainless.
How Much Do Handheld XRF Analyzer Guns Cost?
Really, it depends on the gun’s age, who you are buying from, and what condition it is in.
XRF guns can be rented for as little as $2000/month (thats right as little as). The actual gun itself, new, will cost over $35k easily. Used, you will be paying $20k.
Where Can I find a Handheld XRF Analyzer Guns?
The best place to go is to a local scrap yard. The well reputed ones will have an xrf analyzer and can shoot anything you may want.
Even if you DO NOT want to scrap something, and just are looking for a way to get your metals tested. Go to a scrap yards, explain that you need to get something tested. It may be in your best interest to bring your sample in along with some scrap wire or something, that way you seem like a customer.
Many scrap yards have more complete lab for testing precious metals.
Good Luck Scrapping!