Microwave Digestion of ZrO₂ and Al₂O₃ for Element Analysis with ICP

Al₂O₃ and ZrO₂ are thermally and chemically stable materials. These properties constitute the basis for their use for high temperature insulation, heat shields or protective coatings. The measurement of foreign elements like K or Na in the bulk gives information about the purity of the product and final product performance.

In the trace element analysis of Al2O3 and ZrO2 the most demanding part is sample decomposition because these oxides are amongst the most difficult to dissolve materials.

As traditional fusion decomposition introduces impurities to the sample, wet digestion should be the method of choice.

Whether a wet chemical dissolution is possible depends on the crystalline structure of the sample, its content of foreign elements and the particle size of the sample.

With appropriate chemistry and the application of high performance microwave-assisted digestion systems good results can be achieved within an acceptable time frame. The substitution of fusion techniques becomes feasible for the majority of samples.

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