A device for transforming solid-metal samples into an aerosol of fine metal particles has been combined with a flame spectroscopic method for the determination of trace impurities and alloying elements in steels. The aerosol generator is a simple apparatus in which the sample serves as the cathode of a low-current dc-arc discharge. Constant movement of the cathode spot results in uniform sampling of a relatively large area. A flowing gas stream transports the aerosol particles from the arc discharge to the nitrous oxide–acetylene flame. Analytical curves for the determination of chromium, manganese, and nickel in steel are shown. The method provides a very rapid means of determining trace elements and alloy constituents in metals without the complications attendant to dissolution procedures.
Royce K. Winge, Velmer A. Fassel, and Richard N. Kniseley, "Direct Nebulization of Metal Samples for Flame Atomic-Emission and Absorption Spectroscopy," Appl. Spectrosc. 25, 636-642 (1971)