X-rays are commonly associated with the medical profession, but their application actually has numerous uses in many other areas. X-ray diffraction testing, commonly called XRD testing or XRD analysis, is a form of positive metal identification used to determine the characteristics of crystalline materials.

One of the reasons that XRD is a preferred metal analyzing method is that it is non-destructive, meaning that you can more safely use it on material where you do not want to remove a sample because you have a limited quantity of the material or the material is fragile or expensive. Substances like diamonds and graphite can be safely analyzed without worrying about cracking or damaging it.

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What It Is and How It Works

XRD testing focuses an X-ray beam at a metal sample to determine its composition and a few structural elements (such as average grain size, crystal defects, orientation, and strain).

The beam is focused at a set angle, and the resulting refraction provides the necessary information to determine the various structural parameters. The way the beams diffract are similar to a finger print, and the peak intensities of the diffraction are compared against the International Centre for Diffraction Data database to determine the parameters. The results provide a quantitative measure of the texture orientation and phase of the sample.

The reason why businesses need to know the details of the crystalline structure depends on the industry. However, the benefits are universal.

It can identify and quantify the crystalline phase of the material being sampled.
The crystalline characteristics can help determine the best use (or if a sample can be used) for a particular process or procedure.
It also tells manufacturers how a material should be cut or inserted based on the orientation.
Finally, it determines the ratio of crystalline to amorphous material. It can detect the minor crystalline phases to concentrations that are larger than 1%.

A Preferred Method for Limited Material

The problem with many types of testing is that they are destructive. When you have a limited amount of sample or something that is one of a kind, non-destructive methods let you understand the sample without harming the sample.

XRD testing is one of the preferred methods of identifying the crystalline phase for bulk and thin-film samples. It is particularly helpful when you need to analyze loose powder or solutions that have dried.


Wide Application across Many Industries and Methods

Nearly every industry benefits from XRD analysis. For those who work with large vehicles, such as in the aerospace and automotive industries, it can provide the means to work with more expensive metals and materials without destroying them.

The technology and medical sectors benefit from XRD testing because it can provide specific results that are critical for creating gadgets and devices so that they meet their potential. Even glass and ceramics use this type of testing to create more durable and artistic pieces.

There are several different methods of conducting XRD analysis. This is one of the primary reasons why you should have an expert conducting the tests – you want to make sure that the right method is used for your needs.


If you have questions about XRD analysis or other types of testing, we can help you understand the right solution for your needs. From training to equipment to conducting tests, we offer a wide range of products and services to meets the needs of numerous industries.

We can help you determine if it makes sense to purchase a machine or simply have testing conducted. We can also help you understand when a destructive method of analysis is preferable, as well as determining the right non-destructive method if there is a limited amount of material.


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