Material Analysis, Material Characterization
High-performance instruments for analyzing material properties.
Historical objects stand as testimony to our cultural past. They speak of personalities, of nations – indeed, of humanity. The most important task in saving cultural assets is preserving this heritage. To do so, these pieces of art and everyday items must be carefully examined and researched.
In the textile industry, consumer protection plays an important role. Product labels, such as the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, are an important mark of quality and often a decisive purchasing factor. But to qualify for this desirable certification, manufacturers must produce all components of their products according to the required criteria and ensure compliance with the prescribed limits.
When researching the origin of antique coins, scientists use a variety of information sources. The smelting process or the ores used in minting for example contain information about the origin or the age of the coin. However, one needs to find ways to retrieve this information out of these often precious and rare coins without damaging them. But because coin alloys always contain both light and heavy elements, to gain meaningful results the researchers need a determination method that covers a wide range of elements and employs an efficient measurement routine.
Two substrates, thin film transistor (TFT) arrays and color filters, are common components of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. Spacers are used to keep the gap between them consistent, so that the liquid crystal material can be injected evenly inside to “do its magic”. The mechanical properties of these spacers exert great influence on the finished display’s robustness and image quality.
In the electronics industry, two-component conformal coatings are often used to minimize current leakage on PCBs and as protection against humidity and other environmental stressors. Because the exact composition of the polymer determines its final mechanical properties, quality control using a reliable measurement technology is mandatory.
Bathroom fittings are commonly finished with a decorative chromium plating. But what may appear to be a solid metal shower head, for example, is often just a multi-layered metal coating on top of a plastic substrate. To guarantee that the shower head not only look pretty when delivered but even after many years of usage, the thickness of each individual layer must be controlled to ensure quality.
Children’s toys contaminated with traces of heavy metals and other hazardous substances – sometimes in dangerously high concentrations – repeatedly make for alarming headlines. Thus, toy manufacturers are under considerable pressure to prove that their products are free of harmful substances so that they qualify for the appropriate safety labels.
Because articles that come in contact with human skin should be free of harmful materials and allergenic substances, new regulations for consumer protection are in the works to restrict the content of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and other toxic or allergenic elements in fashion jewelery, watch parts, and accessories, as well as in the metal fastenings and ornaments on handbags, wallets or clothing. This analytical challenge requires measuring equipment that can quickly and easily detect even the tiniest amounts of these substances.
It is critical for manufacturers and distributors of many products to be able to detect harmful substances. Various regulations, such as RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), DIN EN 71 (Safety of Toys Standard) and CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), specify maximum permissible values, particularly for heavy metals.