A two-dimensional distribution of alumina inclusion particles in ferritic stainless steels was obtained from variations in the emission intensity of an Al I line, when a 1-kHz Q-switched Nd:YAG laser was scanned on a sample surface in laser-induced breakdown spectrometry (LIBS). The histograms for detected alumina particles were estimated as a function of the averaged diameter or the emission intensity of the particles in three stainless steel samples. They indicated that more alumina particles having larger dimensions were included in a sample compared to the other samples. This result could be acceptable, because the content of Insol. Al, which would be derived from aluminum oxide, in the sample was twice as much as in the others when it was determined by chemical analysis. The analysis time including the data treatment was about 20 min for a sample area of 4.5 mm2. Therefore, the scanning LIBS could provide a simpler and faster analytical method to determine the distribution of alumina inclusions than the conventional methods.
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