Microstructural Characterization Lab

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ESEM and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) provide both visual and qualitative analysis of elemental makeup of foam samples for lost foam casting research

Professional personnel trained in the operation of analytical instrumentation and characterization equipment aptly complement the scientific and technical capabilities of the MCL equipment. Within the last five years, more than $500,000 has been invested in the MCL to update its capabilities thus enhancing responsiveness to research and testing services.

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ESEM micrograph of micro-balloon fillers in graphite epoxy composites – 800x magnification

Morphology and topographical characterization is available for a wide range of materials, including (but not limited to) polymers, ceramics, metals (and their alloys), fibers, aggregates, and composites. The centerpiece of the lab is an FEI Quanta 200, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM). The MCL also boasts a fully automated JEOL 733 electron microprobe which serves as a high performance X-ray micro analyzer for qualitative and quantitative analysis of a variety of specimens and their composing elements.

In addition to the ESEM and Microprobe, the MCL includes a full range of specimen preparation equipment (i.e. acid bench, automated grinding and polishing, sawing, and sputter coating). There is also an inverted microscope with image analysis software for determining particle size and density counts, and a Vickers scale microhardness indentation device.