An X-ray emission spectrographic method of analysis is presented for the determination, of rare earth elements in fractions obtained from bastnaesite ore. The method includes the determination of yttrium, thorium, lanthanum., and the rare earth elements in various complex mixtures. The analysis technique is based upon comparing the samples to synthetic standards approximating the composition of the samples. Working curves are plotted on an absolute intensity basis, with, no correction for background. Examples of working curves and the analyses of typical rare earth concentrates are included. The selection of spectral lines for the various sample matrices is discussed. A special technique is used for samples in which rapid hydration and carbonation occurred.
By analyzing synthetic samples of known composition, the accuracy of the method was determined. The error of analysis was about 3 per cent of the amount present in the range from 5 to 100 per cent and about 7 per cent in the 0.2 to 5 per cent range. A maximum of about 40 samples per day may be analyzed for 7 elements each. The advantages and disadvantages of the method are discussed.