Detecting Impurities in Coal, Coke and Carbon Products with WDXRF

How WDXRF can be used for routine impurity testing in metal production, power generation and industrial processes involving coal, coke and carbon products; together with an example of trace element analysis with the Bruker S6 JAGUAR.

Blue Scientific is the official Nordic distributor for Bruker XRF in the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland). For more information or quotes, please get in touch.

 Bruker S6 JAGUAR

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Trace Element Analysis

Trace element analysis is important in industrial processes involving coal and pet coke:

  • Blast furnace steel plants
  • Electrolytic cells
  • Power generation
  • Metal production

WDXRF (Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence) is recommended in several international standards as a trace analysis technique for detecting impurities. Example applications include:

  • Cross-contamination and impurities in aluminium production
  • Corrosion from high chlorine concentrations
  • Sulphur concentration that could cause harmful SOx emissions
  • … and more
Bruker S6 JAGUAR

Bruker S6 JAGUAR

The Bruker S6 JAGUAR is a compact WDXRF spectrometer, ideal for analysing these types of impurities.

  • Analyse solid samples, loose powders, liquids and pressed pellets
  • Covers the entire element range for coal analysis, with up to four analyser crystals and two detectors
  • Low detection limits
  • 400 W excitation power and closely coupled beam path
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Compact size
  • System components are protected for maximum uptime

Upgrade: Lower Detection Limits

If you need lower detection limits, the system can be upgraded with an XS-400 analyser crystal. This typically boosts the intensity by >35% for lower limits of detection.

Manual / Auto Loading

Manual sample loading is available if you usually analyse just a few samples per day. If you have a higher throughput and need to test larger numbers of samples, an EasyLoad sample magazine is available, which can handle up to 24 samples for you. The system is controlled easily using a touchscreen.

Example Analysis: Anode Coke

This accuracy test illustrates the analytical performance of the Bruker S6 JAGUAR, and walks you through the workflow:

Sample Preparation

The standards and samples were ground to a very small grain size in a tungsten carbide vessel to avoid contamination from Cr and Fe. Na contamination was avoided by using gloves. 7 g anode coke powder was mixed with 1.4 g wax and pressed into aluminium cups using an automated press.


The S6 JAGUAR can be equipped with up to four analyser crystals and two detectors. This means that each element can be analysed using optimal parameters, for the best results:

  • Light elements are excited with low voltage at maximum power
  • Heavy elements (Ca upwards) are excited with 50 kV
  • Na – XS 55 multi-layer crystal
  • Al, Si and Cl – PET crystal
  • K – Zn – LiF200 crystal. If you need enhanced trace analysis and line separation, use an XS-400 crystal.

A set of 15 internationally certified reference materials was used for calibration. Each element was analysed for up to 100 seconds to ensure full detection of all traces.

WDXRF Sulfur calibration curve
Calibration curve for Sulphur (range 0.5% – 4.69% )
WDXRF Nickel calibration curve
Calibration curve for Nickel (range 65 – 283 ppm )
Anode coke impurity testing
Anode coke accuracy test, comparing certified concentrations with actual results, and a 10-fold precision test

This example demonstrates that the Bruker S6 JAGUAR has the sensitivity required to reliably detect and analyse trace elements at low concentration levels. This is ideal for measuring ash-forming elements and impurities in coke, coal and carbon products.

Download this case study in an application note from Bruker

More Information

Blue Scientific is the official Nordic distributor of Bruker WDXRF. We’re available to answer all your questions – just get in touch:

 Contact us on +44 (0)1223 422 269 or

 Bruker S6 JAGUAR