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Beta Backscatter Method

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The beta backscatter method according to ISO 3543 allows non-​destructive measurement of the coating thickness of metallic coatings (e.g. nickel or copper) when applied on steel or non-​ferrous metal (NF metals).

How does the beta backscatter method work? The functional principle is a simple one: An isotope source emits beta rays (i.e. electrons). These particles penetrate the surface of the coated article and initiate an interaction with the atoms in the coating layer as well as the base material. The number of returned electrons is measured via a Geiger-​Müller tube, which enables precise determination of the coating thickness.  In order to ensure the coating thickness is measured successfully using this method, the atomic numbers “Z” of the coating and base material must differ by at least 5.


Illustration of the principle of the beta backscatter method.

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