The performance of ZAF and PAP matrix correction procedures in the determination of carbon in steel specimens of known compositions was tested. In one set of experiments pure vitreous carbon was used as a carbon reference standard. The carbon weight concentrations obtained using ZAF and PAP were different from the stated concentrations and with large differences between the ZAF and PAP results, the latter being the better. In a second set of experiments a complex steel reference standard was used. There were no differences between ZAF and PAP and the results from both were in agreement with the stated concentrations. The problems associated with the use of a pure carbon standard are discussed. It is shown that, in order to improve the results from the PAP correction procedure, it is essential to solve these problems.
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