Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers



Reviewed by Raghvendra GopalCheckmark
Last updated: September 28, 2023

What Does Assay Mean?

Assay is a measurement of the purity of a substance, metal or otherwise. Assays may be conducted either through destructive or nondestructive testing and lead to calculated figures for purity, which are expressed as per unit volume. Percentages are often used when a substance is expected to be almost completely pure. Other assay units may include grams per liter, moles per cubic decimeter and so on.


Corrosionpedia Explains Assay

In the modern industrial environment, steel is assayed by using X-ray fluorescence (XRF). One of the advantages of XRF analyzers is that they are nondestructive. The technique works through the generation of secondary X-rays that occurs within metal shell structures. XRF can be qualitative (to indicate the presence of different elements) or quantitative (to ascertain the concentration of different elements). For steel, an XRF assay may determine levels of other elements such as chromium, nickel, silicon, manganese, cobalt and titanium, besides iron.

Assaying for steel purity is vital to a cross-section of industries, especially those where corrosion is a concern. These industries include:

  • Metal fabrication, to guard against the use of metals or alloys that are out of specification entering into use

  • Oil & gas, where flow-accelerated or sulfidic corrosion are corrosion concerns

  • Automotive and aerospace, where quality control of metals and coated components is of critical importance

Other key sectors where metals are assayed using XRF include precious metals, mining and exploration, scrap metal recycling and construction engineering.


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