Tag Archives: contact angle

  • Challenges often arise when verifying critical surface processes on the factory floor when measuring hard to reach areas and varying angles. The Surface Analyst conquers those challenges with the unique ability to measure on vertical surfaces, which include assembled parts and hard to reach spots. This allows for easier surface analysis on the factory floor.

    This ability is possible because of patented Ballistic Deposition which deposits a pulsed stream of micro droplets with enough kinetic energy to overcome surface roughness and textures.

    A few examples of the Surface Analyst’s ability to measure on vertical surfaces on the factory floor:

    • Airplane wings prior to bonding, painting, and repair
    • Canopy of jet fighters after cleaning
    • Wind turbine blades prior to bonded repair
    • Silkscreen bottles post flame treatment
    • Ship hulls prior to painting and bonding
    • Interior of automobile headlights prior to application of anti-fog coating
    • Windshield bond lines prior to sealing
    • Class A paint surface for decals applications and reapplications
    • Measuring appliances after metal cleaning and prior to power coating

    …Read More

  • New Paper Presented at ANTEC 2017

    by Emily Walsh May 2017

    Last week, BTG Labs exhibited and presented at ANTEC 2017. We were pleased to connect and exchange intelligence with leaders in the plastics industry.

    Our booth featured the Surface Analyst, which uses contact angle to measure surface cleanliness of a material. This monitors the surface preparation process and ensures readiness to bond, print, paint, coat, or seal which can be challenging on plastics. More and more, plastics manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst for guaranteeing their surface treatment and final product.

    Along with exhibiting, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham presented the paper, “Rapid Evaluation of Surface Properties of Medical Tubing for Process Development and Quality Assurance.” The paper explains that the key to manufacturing high performance medical devices is understanding and controlling surface properties. Crucial characteristics of medical tubing such as wettability, adhesion, antithrombogenicity, and biocompatibility depend on only the top few molecular layers of a surface. Dr. Dillingham discusses research done with the Surface Analyst for highly sensitive surface measurements on medical tubing to control coating application. …Read More

  • Roosevelt University, Image by Chicago Tribune

    Roosevelt University, a liberal arts college in the Loop of downtown Chicago perfectly contrasts antiquated and contemporary architecture. Roosevelt’s first venue, constructed in 1889 just in time for the World Fair, is 17 floors of beautiful Art Nouveau structure. The Auditorium Building encompasses ornate railings and scaffolding, topping off with a regal library and a lofty tower overlooking Grant Park. However, because of its age, the Auditorium Building demands constant attention and is inefficient in the frigid Chicago winters and hazy summers.

    Their new building, the Wabash Building, erected in 2012 is just the opposite. Its 32 towering floors of curved glass superintends the Auditorium Building, arriving amongst the structural giants of Chicago. Illustrating the epitome of modern design, this highly efficient, state of the art structure is LEED certified.

    When looking up at the two buildings, old charm vs new-age sleek, the phrase comes to mind: they just don’t make things like they used to. But, there’s necessity behind this. As the global population rises, infrastructure becomes denser, and resources become scarce, engineers concentrate on building smarter. Designing a building that spares no expense—in terms of efficiency in operation and manufacturing of these smarter materials—is pivotal. This all begins in the research and development lab and extends to the manufacturing floor. Materials and processes are developed to allow for more efficiency in both the production of materials and the final construction. Guaranteeing bonds will hold; paint, print, and coatings will stick; seals will persevere; and cleaning processes will clean effectively is crucial to manufacturing a product that will withstand stresses of any structure.

    That is why more and more manufacturers are turning to the Surface Analyst™. This hand-held instrument ensures any surface is ready for effective bonding, coating, cleaning, sealing, printing, or painting. The ability to verify and quantify critical surface processes on the manufacturing floor is the keystone to efficient manufacturing and smarter structures.

    A high-grade window manufacturer, for example, uses the Surface Analyst to verify plasma treatment on vinyl window frames prior to sealing. This guarantees the windows will efficiently heat or cool a structure while also withstanding the elements of rain, wind, and snow. …Read More

  • A Beer with Giles Dillingham

    by Emily Walsh April 2017

    In 1987, Giles earned his PhD and moved to Midland, Michigan to begin laboratory work at Dow Chemical.

    The office of Giles Dillingham is unique, eclectic, and full of resources; very much like Giles Dillingham. The corner office is filled with books, antique tools, paintings by his beloved wife, family photos, and of course, a very nice stereo set-up.

    Giles, BTG Labs’ Founder and Chief Scientist, can often be found typing eagerly away at a report while listening to classical music, or seated at the Cherrywood table, collaborating with colleagues.

    One Friday evening, as the Cincinnati sun began to sink, I shared an end of the week beer with Giles in his lovely office to hear the origin story of BTG.

    Emily: So, Giles, you started BTG Labs. Where did it begin?

    Giles: Well, after I finished my PhD at the University of Cincinnati, I had a job waiting for me at Dow Chemical up in Midland, Michigan. And, I worked there for five years in a variety of assignments, mostly in polymer processing and surface properties. Central Research at Dow in the 90’s was an amazing place to work.  It was a very academic environment with amazing scientists from all fields. I spent most of my time in the laboratory. I learned and grew a whole lot.

    E: And, then what? …Read More

  • BTG Labs to Present at CMH-17

    by Emily Walsh March 2017

    This week, BTG Labs will attend the CMH-17 PMC Coordination Meeting in conjunction with ASTM D-30 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The purpose of this gathering is to present and collaborate on the latest in composite advances and standards and contribute to document updates.

    CMH-17, the Composite Materials Handbook, is the go to reference and guide for aerospace manufacturers who adhesively bond composite parts. It features standard, vetted composite technologies as well as standardization for data collection and analysis of composite processes. BTG Labs maintains a strong connection with CMH-17 by presenting at working group meetings and contributing to content.

    This year, BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham and Research and Development Engineer Tim Barry will attend the March meeting to collaborate and present.

    Dr. Dillingham and Barry will present BTG Labs’ work to a joint meeting of ASTM committees D30 and D14.80.01 on adhesives and composites. This presentation intends to create a new standard based on BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™, a handheld instrument which measures water contact angle in 2 seconds to ensure bonding. The proposed standard especially focuses on the instrument’s unique abilities to deposit water drops via patented Ballistic Deposition technology and image drops from above to determine the contact angle.

    …Read More

  • Surface Analyst inspection points on an automotive oil pan.

    BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham recently presented at the 40th annual meeting of the Adhesion Society. An elected Fellow of the Adhesion Society, Dr. Dillingham has been contributing to this community since 1980.

    Giles’ presentation, “Control of Cleaning Processes to Maximize Sealant Performance,” focuses on quantifying parts washers and sealant processes. The importance of monitoring cleaning processes in preparation for sealing is becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry, as sealant processes such as such as FIPG (formed in-place gaskets) are replacing traditional fasteners. However, when sealing, the surface must be clean and clear of contaminants in order to guarantee the bond.

    As FIPG relies on properly made bonds, contaminants preventing the success of those bonds must be monitored and properly expelled. There is a wide range of assembly liquids that can interfere with the bond of FIPGs–cutting fluids, die lubes, corrosion inhibitors, as well as particulates generated from casting and machining. This paper shows the importance of quantifying parts washers in order to ensure the part is properly prepared to bond. An engine casing was cleaned in two different parts washers. After each wash, Surface Analyst measurements were taken across the engine casing. Figures within the paper show different measurements and the inconsistency throughout the casing from just one parts washer. Some areas showed low contact angle (indicating a successful wash) while others showed high contact angle (indicating an improper wash). …Read More

  • Food packaging and print industries often face the obstacle of adhering to low energy substrates such as polypropylene. Measuring the surface’s cleanliness prior to bonding or printing is the key to successful adhesion. The common method for measuring surface cleanliness, or surface energy on these materials is dyne inks. However, dyne is highly subjective and requires a skilled technician, and because of its destructive nature, dyne can only be used on a sample rather than an actual material on the assembly line. These downfalls often restrict the use of dyne inks.

    This paper examines the relationship between surface energy and adhesion and how water contact angle provides an accurate and quantitative method for predicting adhesion.  The results of this paper reveal that the Surface Analyst, a handheld water contact angle measurement instrument is an accurate and effective indicator of surface energy. …Read More


  • The utilization of composites increases daily in manufacturing as more ways in which to use this advanced material are discovered. Composite is a smart material that provides a lighter weight and stronger product. This advanced material is being used in many different industries, from consumer products like bicycle frames to airplanes. Yet, because the strength is held in the fibrous matrix of the material, composites must be adhesively bonded together as traditional mechanical fasteners can break the fibers and compromise the material’s integrity.

    To guarantee these bonds, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ precisely, accurately, and quantifiably measures the surface’s readiness to bond. BTG Labs’ experience in the field of composites reaches back to the genesis of the Surface Analyst when the USAF turned to the company to engineer a hand-held surface energy measurement device for composite bonding of aircraft. Since then, the Surface Analyst’s composite applications continue to increase and span into many more industries.

    Surface Analyst Applications Examples for Bonding, Coating, Sealing, and Painting Composites

    • Aerospace: satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft
    • Sports and Recreation: sporting equipment
    • Automotive: structural components, drive shafts, interior parts
    • Medical Device: prosthetics, repair equipment, tubing
    • Marine: structural frames and components, fiber glass applications
    • Renewable energy: wind turbines, fuel cells, marine turbines, power transmissions, solar panels
    • Construction: architectural, fiberglass, bridges, infrastructure, housing, refurbishing

    …Read More

  • Medical Device Applications

    by Emily Walsh February 2017

    BTG Labs’ origins are in the research and development of adhesives and coatings, including the development of a corrosion resistant antimicrobial coating–often used in the medical device industry. The Surface Analyst is the ideal surface cleanliness gauge for the medical device industry in that it is completely non-destructive, precise, quantitative, and able to measure on various substrates including rough, convex, and concave surfaces. BTG Labs’ twenty plus years of expertise can assist in the optimization of medical device manufacturing processes to meet the highly-tailored specs of this industry to manufacture more reliable, fail resistant products.

    Monitor

    • Layers of silicone wafers prior to bonding
    • Sanding and solvent wiping on carbon fiber and titanium for prosthetics
    • And identify the presence of detrimental silicone in a bonding step
    • Flame treatment on medical devices including catheters
    • Plasma treatment on catheters prior to bonding luers
    • Surfaces preparations prior to solvent bonding

    Validate

    • Microbial lubricious coating and uniformity on catheters
    • Surface cleanliness of stainless, aluminum, titanium, and polymer devices
    • Sterilization methods such as ultra-sonic baths and vacuum plasma chambers
    • Audit concerns with shelf-life and uniformity of antimicrobial coatings …Read More
  • Convex eyeglass lens inspection

    Broadening the Abilities of the Surface Analyst

    The Surface Analyst™ has the unique ability to measure on almost any surface: vertical, horizontal, smooth, rough, mirrored and in an easy, accurate, fast, and non-destructive way. However, until now, measuring on concave and convex surfaces presented an obstacle. Now BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst boasts a new specialized head for measuring on concave and convex surfaces.

    Before, the only way to measure on these surfaces was with a benchtop goniometer which can only measure on flat or convex materials. Goniometers measure contact angle from a horizontal view. However, a concave material prevents visual of the horizon line needed to determine the contact angle. The closest one could get to measuring a concave surface was to use a flat coupon of the same material. While this would offer insight to the surface energy of the material, it would not be exact because it would not be the actual concave part, thus allowing for guesswork. …Read More