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Expert-Approved LIBS Analyzers for Lithium + Born in Aluminum from Metal Analysis Group



The development of aluminum-lithium (Al-Li) alloys has introduced a revolutionary class of alloys prized for their exceptional combination of high strength, high corrosion resistance, and ultra-low weight. These properties are particularly valued in the aerospace industry, where Al-Li alloys are extensively utilized in commercial aircraft wings and fuselages to enhance fuel efficiency by reducing weight. Additionally, these alloys have found applications in Formula 1 racing cars and various spacecraft, where the imperative of high strength at low weight justifies the investment.

However, the highly reactive nature of lithium, a lightweight element commonly associated with batteries, poses challenges in Al-Li alloy production. These alloys must be manufactured in specially designed furnaces to prevent destructive reactions with refractory walls. This becomes crucial during aluminum recycling, where identifying and isolating lithium-containing alloys is essential to prevent furnace damage.

Despite the popularity of aluminum recycling, which accounts for over 50% of current production and significantly reduces energy consumption, the identification of lithium-containing alloys has been a persistent challenge. Traditional methods like X-ray fluorescence (XRF) often fail to detect lithium due to its lightweight nature.

Addressing this challenge, the latest handheld laser analyzer from Hitachi High-Tech, the Vulcan Optimum+, offers a groundbreaking solution. Part of the Vulcan series of handheld laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analyzers, the Optimum+ model can swiftly identify lithium-containing aluminum alloys in just one second.

The Vulcan Optimum+ is lightweight, portable, and radiation-free, making it ideal for use in manufacturing facilities and scrapyards. With its capability to sort all aluminum series, including modern aerospace alloys containing lithium, the Optimum+ provides unparalleled versatility. It can differentiate between grades within a series, such as the challenging 6061/6063 and 3003/3004 aluminum alloy grades, with ease.

Furthermore, the Vulcan Optimum+ offers the new feature of detecting lithium within aluminum alloys, enabling comprehensive identification of critical alloying elements like lithium, silicon, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc. This capability ensures accurate and efficient aluminum grade identification, providing users with peace of mind and reliability.