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Portable XRF and XRD Analysis Applications from A to Z

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Portable XRF and XRD analysis

Portable X-ray analytical techniques like XRF and XRD can be used to characterize a wide range of materials and samples on-site. In fact, the long list of applications goes from A to Z!

Listed in alphabetical order, here are the various applications you can perform using portable XRF or XRD analysis:

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum alloy is a popular metal for many industries because it is lightweight, strong, and corrosion resistant. Its lightweight strength comes from the element magnesium, which can be detected using XRF. Discover how to quickly and accurately sort low-magnesium aluminum alloys using portable XRF.


Understanding bauxite mineralogy can help optimize exploration efforts, improve blending strategies, and yield better metal recoveries. Learn how portable XRD instruments provide faster quantitative mineralogy for bauxite on-site.


Portable XRF plays an important role in the exploration and mining of porphyry geological systems that contain valuable copper gold porphyry deposits. Learn more about copper analysis using XRF in this application note.

Drinking Water

Access to safe, lead-free drinking water is critical for our health, so suppliers of drinking water pipe components must meet strict safety requirements. Learn how to test for the presence of lead in pipes, fittings, and fixtures that carry drinking water using XRF.


Thanks to real-time geochemical data, portable XRF is a useful tool for exploration and mining. Check out this example for nickel laterite exploration, grade control, and processing.

Flow Accelerated Corrosion

In power generation process piping, carbon steels containing low amounts of chromium (Cr) are susceptible to flow accelerated corrosion (FAC). Discover how portable XRF can help inspectors monitor Cr content in pipes to predict FAC.


Learn how in-field quantitative mineralogy with portable XRD instruments can help geologists make informed decisions for graphite exploration, mining, and extraction.

Hg (Mercury)

Mercury is a toxic element that occurs naturally in crude oil, and it can quickly contaminate oil and gas assets. These mercury-contaminated assets pose a major health risk to workers, so it is critical to identify them quicky. Learn how portable XRF instruments can provide a fast, nondestructive assessment of mercury contamination directly on oil and gas assets.

Industrial Lead-Based Paint

Portable XRF can rapidly screen for lead in many materials, including paint! Discover how to get on-the-spot results for lead-based paint testing with portable XRF analyzers to confirm regulatory compliance and improve health and safety.


Is the diamond in your heirloom ring real or fake? Portable XRF can help solve this mystery. Learn how to identify the differences between real and imitation gems with a quick XRF test.

Karat ID

Knowing karat percentage is important in the jewelry industry for accurate pricing and building customer trust. Check out our interview with Isabella Jewelers to learn why they use portable XRF analyzers for karat determination.


Lithium can be hosted within a range of minerals in pegmatitic rocks, and portable XRD can identify lithium-bearing minerals for exploration, mining, and extraction. Check out this example to see how portable XRD instruments provide faster quantitative mineralogy to help geologists determine lithium concentrations in the field.

Mineral Exploration

Portable XRF is a useful tool across the entire mining value chain—from exploration drilling to routine grade control and mineral processing. Learn about the different ways XRF can benefit routine mining activities.

Non-Chromate Conversion Coatings

Titanium-zirconium conversion coatings are popular alternatives to chromite conversion coatings as they are safer and more eco-friendly. Yet, these non-chromate coatings are colorless—making visual inspection impossible. Fortunately, a quick XRF test can confirm if the coatings have been applied and meet the required thickness range.

Ore Mapping

Another useful application of portable XRF is ore mapping. Check out this study to see how portable XRF analyzers provide rapid geochemical mapping of chromite ores.


Positive material identification (PMI) can prevent costly material mix-ups that lead to component failure, lost material, and other hazards. Portable XRF can be used for PMI in many challenging conditions, such as testing heated, in-service components, to help mitigate these risks.

Quality Control

Portable XRF analyzers can improve manufacturing quality control processes in all steps of the supply chain. Check out these 9 quick XRF tips for end-to-end manufacturing QC.

Rare-Earth Elements

If you need to explore and identify rare-earth elements (REEs) in the field, portable XRF is a useful tool. See how portable XRF analyzers offer real-time data on geologic samples containing REEs for more effective exploration.


There are strict regulations in place for sulfur content in petroleum products and fuels, and portable XRF is well suited to meeting these requirements. Discover how portable XRF analyzers can provide a fast, accurate assessment of sulfur content in seconds with virtually no sample prep.


Need to identify fretting corrosion on critical wind turbine components? Portable XRD instruments provide a cost-effective method to identify and quantify fretting corrosion using wear debris samples.

Uranium Exploration

Our Vanta™ handheld XRF analyzers can measure elements from magnesium (Mg) through uranium (U). Learn how these analyzers offer real time, in-field geochemical analysis for uranium exploration.


Vanadium is one of the toxic heavy metals analyzed during contaminated land assessments. Discover how portable XRF analysis can detect various heavy metals in contaminated soil.

Wear Metals

Analyzing wear metals in lubricating oils and contaminants in fuels is critical to detect potential machine failures before they become serious and costly. Our research shows that portable XRF can measure wear metals for fast, accurate monitoring of engine oil.

X-Ray Diffraction

Portable XRD analyzers use a unique method to rapidly and easily collect and process X-ray diffraction data for reliable mineralogy and phase analysis. Learn more about the modern method in our XRD primer.


Yttrium is another rare-earth element that can be measured by XRF. Learn how analyzing yttrium in the field with portable XRF can help geologists determine the total rare-earth concentration in the field.


Portable XRD instruments provide fast qualitative and quantitative analysis of synthetic zeolites during the manufacturing process. Learn about all the benefits of portable XRD for synthetic zeolite manufacturing.

Explore Other XRD and XRF Analysis Applications

No matter the application, portable XRF and XRD analyzers offer fast, accurate analysis. To find other applications, browse our Online Resource Center or subscribe to the InSight blog! We’re always posting about new and innovative ways to use these X-ray analytical techniques.

Related Content

XRF Acronyms and Abbreviations Decoded: Quick Reference Guide

Advantages of Limestone Analysis with pXRF and pXRD Analyzers

Webinar: XRD Mineralogy and XRF Analysis for Advanced Mud Logging

Marketing Specialist, Analytical Instruments

Michelle Wright has more than nine years of experience in marketing communications and works in the analytical instruments business at Evident to promote X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers. She works closely with product, engineering, and application groups to assist with launching new products, creating webinars, and writing application notes.

April 20, 2021
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