Category Archives: Materials Science
Think about your company’s manufacturing operation.
Now, think about fixing your adhesion problems simply by knowing a single number…
What do both of these statements about surface adhesion have in common?
- “We need to measure surface quality of the teeth on a gear to make sure the coating stays on.”
- “We need to make sure the coating on our tubing is uniform, but we can’t measure a curved surface with our current surface testing method.”
“We need to be solvent wiping our aluminum before it’s coated/painted/sealed/insert adhesion-intensive process here.”
Technically, that’s correct…you should be.
But is that understanding enough?
What could happen in 10 minutes?
Well, if you work to improve a manufacturing operation, you know that means quite a bit…
Water break testing. Dyne pens. Goniometer. No method at all.
The search for a reliable, repeatable, objective method (i.e. not based on opinion) for measuring surface readiness in manufacturing was a search all too common among our current customers, and these methods are the most commonly tried and (formerly) used among them.
Achieving great adhesion in manufacturing comes down to surface preparation (we call it “Clean to a Number”) and optimal surface prep is the difference between an average product…and an industry-leading one.
But getting there means having an objectively quantified understanding of the top 3 molecular layers of your material surface.
Did we just say “top 3 molecular layers?”
On May 21-24, BTG Labs heads back to Long Beach, CA but this time for the SAMPE 2018 Conference & Exhibition.
Recently in Long Beach for AeroDef, one of the aerospace and defense industries’ most widely recognized conferences, BTG Labs now contributes to this tradeshow that features “the latest technologies and research advancements in the industry.” Maybe you’ve heard of a little instrument called The Surface Analyst?
New industry buzzword?
Or a new generation of process and quality control?
Manufacturing a product to withstand the environmental stresses of wind, rain, and sediment is challenging enough. But, when you add saltwater and wave action to the mix, the detrimental threat of corrosion increases significantly. A coating adhesion test is important for quickly testing a surface before spending hours of work, coating and painting the hull just to find out that the surface lacks the adhesive quality enough to withstand the elements.
Anti-corrosive or anti-fouling coatings and protective paints serve to protect ships against those environmental threats.
But, the coating or paint is only as strong as its adhesive quality. If the adhesion fails, the coating or paint chips and the ship becomes vulnerable to corrosion. Failures in the field can be both costly and dangerous.
Ensuring quality adhesion is the key to guaranteeing successful protection. But, how can quality adhesion be achieved? A proper coating adhesion test should be done beforehand to gauge the surface preparedness before painting or coating occurs.
In 2014, a large manufacturer of automotive exteriors and interiors encountered a problem consistently adhering paint to their dashboards due to an inappropriate use of their flame treatment.
Flame treatment is a popular and notable procedure that can successfully modify the surface chemistry of a polymer, readying it for adhesion. Although flame treatment is an effective solution, determining the amount of treatment can be a delicate procedure. The over-flaming of these highly sensitive polymers can lead to polymer reorientation due to localized melting and ultimately, destruction of the surface.
In this case, however, the manufacturer was not utilizing flame treatment to monitor their surface cleanliness. Instead, they used it to deflash excess material on the edges of their dash boards. The edges of the dashboard were being over-flamed, hindering the polymer’s surface adhesion ability. This, in turn restricted paint from correctly adhering to the edges of the dashboard. The company needed a way to determine the appropriate amount of flame treatment.