Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Laser Spectroscopy to Measure Constituents of Steel :Laser spectroscopy to measure steel melt constit.(ST6496-1)

Energy Research Company, Inc.


In melting steel in electric arc furnaces (EAF) the bath chemistry is measured by drawing a small sample and sending it to a remote laboratory. This is done many times per day, causing the furnace to be idled, which results in lost processing time. In addition, this imposes a limit on how precisely the bath chemistry can be controlled.

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Project Description

Energy Research Company (ERCo) of Staten Island and Crucible Specialty Metals of Syracuse, NY will extend the work that ERCo has conducted on its Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). ERCo's LIBS Probe will be immersed in steel melt at Crucible, and will measure bath chemistry in real time and in-situ. The project is based on three phases/tasks: Task 1: ERCo will test the probe by immersing it in steel melt to determine if it can identify the elements of interest with the desired accuracy. Task 2: ERCo will assemble and test a portable prototype LIBS Probe. Task 3: ERCo will assemble and test a full-scale, fully operational LIBS Probe.


The real-time information that the LIBS Probe will provide will save energy, increase production levels, improve quality, and decrease emissions. Having real-time information will eliminate the holding time that had been necessary to do off-line laboratory testing. Eliminating holding time is expected to save more than $729,000/year in electricity, and increase production by more than 29,000 tons/year. The Probe will allow a much closer tolerance to be obtained during the melt, reducing oxidation potential, which reduces refractory waste, refractory wear, and slag.

Project Results

ERCo developed a number of techniques that may be useful in other applications. Remote measurement techniques are being used in a project to measure aluminum in a titanium melt for a customer. An adiabatic probe design provides a simple probe that can be used in molten glass measurements. ERCo’s development of its calibration-free methods, an on-going effort, may be of value in molten-aluminum and glass applications. However, ERCo could not meet Crucible’s needs for the remote measurement of low carbon concentrations in its AOD vessel.


Energy Research Company, Inc.

Principle Investigator

Robert DeSaro

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products

NYSERDA Contact Information

Miriam Pye


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST6496-1

Last Updated: 7/30/2014