High accuracy in physical and chemical analytical methods, particularly X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis, can only be attained with homogeneous specimens, whatever the method used. A simple way to meet that requirement is by dissolving the sample into a solvent and a unique, universal and fast technique to do it is a fusion with alkaline borates. In XRF analysis, borate fusion is particularly advantageous because the obtained result is a solid glass. In other physical-chemical methods – AA and ICP analyses – borate fusion competes with acid digestion techniques, and is frequently an easier and simpler way to make liquid solutions. The main objective of this book is to show the analyst how simple and easy it is to make glass disks and solutions nowadays, and how he or she can select the proper parameters to make fusions short and efficient. Making glass disks for XRF is now the simplest thing to do if a few simple rules are followed.
Another objective is to clarify the situation for those who still have hesitations concerning the use of fusion, for its presumed complexity and limitations as a means of sample preparation. This book is divided in two parts. Part I deals with the techniques for making glass disks for analysis of oxides and non-oxides by X-ray fluorescence. Borate fusion is described in simple terms, and instructions are given for its application to various materials such as rocks, ashes, residues, refractories, sulfides, metals, etc. The chemicals selection and the operations to perform for best results are described with details allowing the analyst to make justified technical modifications to improve the quality of his work.
Part II is built the same way as Part I but deals with procedures to transform the samples into liquid solutions instead of solid glass disks. The procedures for making solutions differ from those for making glass disks in only two aspects: the size of the samples, and how the last operation is done, that is, pouring the molten glass into a solvent instead of molds. For that reason, Part II contains only the differences in the procedures along with explanations on how to make solutions, assuming that the reader interested in solutions will read Part I first.