here you go:
How X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Works - Thermo Scientific
more detail and applications:
X-ray fluorescence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I'm an electrical & stage/sound engineer(or that's what my boss thinks), i certify (mobile) electrical systems, stage equipment, power tools and portable climbing equipment, i have colleagues who certify and calculate everything from planes to bridges... just about everything. they have the coolest tools you never knew existed.
sometimes when i'm in luck they check what steel some of my blades are. or what things are i dig up metal detecting.
04-22-2015 06:39 PM
OK, XRF to my knowledge certainly has its uses but has been pretty much de-bunked in terms of authentication of antique militaria. I certainly wouldn't rely on it to authenticate a hunk of alloy and determine if it was 'wartime' or not..
no, but if you just want to know what a bayonet is made from, its nice to know the steel type and hardness for sharpening and polishing.
you could also check if your model stuka is 6xxx or 7xxx aluminium alloy, maybe even find out from what plane or at least what country the aluminium came from. since resources were so scarce there must be some differences in the make-up of the metal used.