An atmosphere-controlled excitation chamber which can be readily handled in spectrographic production analysis has been developed and constructed. This device is being investigated for use in the analysis of aluminum alloys in chip compacts sample form, to enable the analysis of chips with accuracies comparable to those now obtained by the use of solid samples. Desirability of controlled atmosphere techniques is indicated by the poor reproducibility obtained in the sparking of compacted chips in air, which may be attributed to the formation of refractory interfaces of variable thermal and electrical resistance. Some data accumulated using aluminum alloy compacted chip samples in atmospheres of Argon, Helium, and Air are presented, and some effects of atmosphere on reproducibility under various excitation conditions are discussed. Preliminary results of trials indicate decided improvement in reproducibilities are possible with Argon, judged from time of wait curves.
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