Topic: materials-science

Why the plastics industry relies heavily on microscopy analysis

By Luigi Raspolini - January 24, 2019

Ever since oil became fundamental to industry, scientists and engineers from all around the world have carried out more and more research into how different organic molecules can be combined in certain patterns to obtain new materials with amazing properties. Commonly called plastics, they are known to the scientific community as polymers — chemical compounds with a highly-engineered chemical structure and composition. The analysis of these compounds is crucial in helping to improve polymer production processes. This article discusses how electron microscopy can provide the analysis that polymer developers need to improve product quality significantly.

Ever since oil became fundamental to industry, scientists and engineers from all around the world have carried out more and more research into how different organic molecules can be combined in certain patterns to obtain new materials with amazing properties. Commonly called plastics, they are known to the scientific community as polymers — chemical compounds with a highly-engineered chemical structure and composition. The analysis of these compounds is crucial in helping to improve polymer production processes. This article discusses how electron microscopy can provide the analysis that polymer developers need to improve product quality significantly.

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The revolution in asbestos analysis

By Luigi Raspolini - November 30, 2018

The detection of asbestos fibers is a complex and time-consuming operation, requiring the use of electron microscopes and highly trained operators. This results in high costs for the analysis and a slow throughput. What if the microscope could support the operator with an automated fiber detection routine and cut the time (and cost) required for each analysis? Find out how in this blog.

The detection of asbestos fibers is a complex and time-consuming operation, requiring the use of electron microscopes and highly trained operators. This results in high costs for the analysis and a slow throughput. What if the microscope could support the operator with an automated fiber detection routine and cut the time (and cost) required for each analysis? Find out how in this blog.

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How research on new material can help minimize environmental damage

By Karl Kersten - November 8, 2018

In science, efforts are rising exploring options that help minimize environmental damage. To understand how environmental damage can be minimized it is worthwhile to research new materials. We would like to show you an example taken from fiber development to illustrate the possibilities new materials provide. This example is particularly interesting for anyone working in the materials science field.

In science, efforts are rising exploring options that help minimize environmental damage. To understand how environmental damage can be minimized it is worthwhile to research new materials. We would like to show you an example taken from fiber development to illustrate the possibilities new materials provide. This example is particularly interesting for anyone working in the materials science field.

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Why do your materials break? Tensile testing: inspecting the breaking mechanisms of materials with SEM

By Luigi Raspolini - September 27, 2018

Tensile testing is a commonly-used analysis that provides information on the resilience of an object and how much resistance it can offer to traction or compression. Such tests can be performed on a large variety of materials and provide useful information to speculate on the behavior of a material when it undergoes a stress. The main purpose of the tensile test is to evaluate relevant parameters (like the Young's modulus, for example) or to study the how shear stress affects the material. This allows researchers to create models and design better materials. But how can you see what is happening? A scanning electron microscope (SEM) with tensile testing capabilities can provide you with that information.

Tensile testing is a commonly-used analysis that provides information on the resilience of an object and how much resistance it can offer to traction or compression. Such tests can be performed on a large variety of materials and provide useful information to speculate on the behavior of a material when it undergoes a stress. The main purpose of the tensile test is to evaluate relevant parameters (like the Young's modulus, for example) or to study the how shear stress affects the material. This allows researchers to create models and design better materials. But how can you see what is happening? A scanning electron microscope (SEM) with tensile testing capabilities can provide you with that information.

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How scanning electron microscopy is used for cosmetics research and development

By Karl Kersten - March 29, 2018

Since ancient Egyptian times, cosmetic products have been used to enhance the human appearance. Research around cosmetics therefore deals not only with the development of new substances and the analysis and enhancement of existing ones, but also with the interaction of components with tissue. In this short blog, we introduce you to three examples that show the link between research within the cosmetic industry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

 

Since ancient Egyptian times, cosmetic products have been used to enhance the human appearance. Research around cosmetics therefore deals not only with the development of new substances and the analysis and enhancement of existing ones, but also with the interaction of components with tissue. In this short blog, we introduce you to three examples that show the link between research within the cosmetic industry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

 

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How SEM helps perform automated quality control on phosphate coatings

By Karl Kersten - March 16, 2018

We are surrounded by products that, for either decorative or functional purposes, are covered with coatings; from paintings and lacquers, to adhesive or protective coatings, optical, catalytic or insulating coatings. Of all these coatings, conversion phosphate coatings play an important role, especially in the automotive industry: they are used for corrosion resistance and lubricity. Since these coatings are used for critical parts, the coating process must undergo thorough quality checks. These checks consist of the analysis of the morphology of the coating as well as the percentage of coverage. In this blog, we describe and analyze how automated tools combined with SEMs can be helpful in quality checking phosphate coatings.

We are surrounded by products that, for either decorative or functional purposes, are covered with coatings; from paintings and lacquers, to adhesive or protective coatings, optical, catalytic or insulating coatings. Of all these coatings, conversion phosphate coatings play an important role, especially in the automotive industry: they are used for corrosion resistance and lubricity. Since these coatings are used for critical parts, the coating process must undergo thorough quality checks. These checks consist of the analysis of the morphology of the coating as well as the percentage of coverage. In this blog, we describe and analyze how automated tools combined with SEMs can be helpful in quality checking phosphate coatings.

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SEM analysis of PVDF-HFP nanofibers for the fabrication of energy harvesters

By Karl Kersten - March 8, 2018

Nowadays, energy harvesting is seeing an increasing interest from the research community, a fact that is confirmed by the rising number of publications. Energy harvesting has a wide range of applications, ranging from portable electronics, such as wristbands, to implanted medical devices like pacemakers. In this field, researchers are focusing their attention on the development of new energy harvesters that satisfy strict requirements: they need to be light and small, but also cheap and highly portable. In this blog, we discuss the fabrication of energy harvesters made from PVDF-HFP nanofibers on PDMS and SF substrates. We investigate how these energy harvesters are characterized and what the role of SEM is in this study.

Nowadays, energy harvesting is seeing an increasing interest from the research community, a fact that is confirmed by the rising number of publications. Energy harvesting has a wide range of applications, ranging from portable electronics, such as wristbands, to implanted medical devices like pacemakers. In this field, researchers are focusing their attention on the development of new energy harvesters that satisfy strict requirements: they need to be light and small, but also cheap and highly portable. In this blog, we discuss the fabrication of energy harvesters made from PVDF-HFP nanofibers on PDMS and SF substrates. We investigate how these energy harvesters are characterized and what the role of SEM is in this study.

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Scanning electron microscopy analysis of polymer coatings of stents

By Karl Kersten - October 5, 2017

The development of polymers and their diverse range of applications is a wide research field. Polymer materials became prevalent in implantable medical devices through processing capabilities in a wide variety of physical and chemical properties, as well as biocompatibility. This article describes how polymer coatings are used in the fabrication of drug-eluting coronary stents and how scanning electron microscopy (SEM) helps analyze the performance of these coatings in great detail. 

The development of polymers and their diverse range of applications is a wide research field. Polymer materials became prevalent in implantable medical devices through processing capabilities in a wide variety of physical and chemical properties, as well as biocompatibility. This article describes how polymer coatings are used in the fabrication of drug-eluting coronary stents and how scanning electron microscopy (SEM) helps analyze the performance of these coatings in great detail. 

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How SEM helps discover suitable corrosion inhibitors

By Karl Kersten - June 12, 2017

Many industries would benefit from the inhibition of corrosion in metals. In the materials science field, scientists are therefore exploring ways to prevent or reduce corrosion. Many studies looking for suitable corrosion inhibitors have been carried out.

However, most of the inhibitors discovered and developed during those studies were synthetic chemicals, which are very expensive, and hazardous to the environment. Due to the characteristics of these chemicals, studies were carried out to investigate and analyze natural products that could be used as an anti-corrosion agent. SEM technology helped conduct these studies in an effective manner, something we will describe further in this article.

Many industries would benefit from the inhibition of corrosion in metals. In the materials science field, scientists are therefore exploring ways to prevent or reduce corrosion. Many studies looking for suitable corrosion inhibitors have been carried out.

However, most of the inhibitors discovered and developed during those studies were synthetic chemicals, which are very expensive, and hazardous to the environment. Due to the characteristics of these chemicals, studies were carried out to investigate and analyze natural products that could be used as an anti-corrosion agent. SEM technology helped conduct these studies in an effective manner, something we will describe further in this article.

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Why SEM is the go-to technology for microfabrication evaluation

By Jake Wilkinson - May 19, 2017

The world of microfabrication is in a constant state of flux. With new technologies, new applications and more difficult problems to be solved, microfabrication is developing at such a speed that it will soon touch all our lives. In the past, microfabrication has been limited to using carbon and semi-conductor materials. But now, new commercial laser techniques, such as those used in the Technology & Applications Center (TAC) at Newport Corporation, are expanding the scope of microfabrication. The range of materials that can be worked on has been extended into polymers, composites, dielectrics and even ceramics. 

The world of microfabrication is in a constant state of flux. With new technologies, new applications and more difficult problems to be solved, microfabrication is developing at such a speed that it will soon touch all our lives. In the past, microfabrication has been limited to using carbon and semi-conductor materials. But now, new commercial laser techniques, such as those used in the Technology & Applications Center (TAC) at Newport Corporation, are expanding the scope of microfabrication. The range of materials that can be worked on has been extended into polymers, composites, dielectrics and even ceramics. 

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