Tag Archives: goniometer
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
The Study of Goniometry
Contact angle goniometry is the study of the characterization of liquid/solid interactions. The first benchtop goniometer designed at the NRL (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory) served as a monumental advance with a way to measure contact angles to measure surface energy. Today, more and more companies are realizing the need for surface monitoring as the use of bonding is replacing mechanical fastening within manufacturing. In order to reliably bond, a clean surface is necessary. Thus, measurement of surface energy is important when bonding, coating, sealing, printing, painting, or cleaning. But, the standard benchtop goniometer has its limitations, rendering it less than ideal in a manufacturing setting where surface preparation is key to bonding.
Limitations of the Benchtop Goniometer
While the benchtop goniometer is an acceptable instrument for use the lab, its size and measurement technique create limitations for use in other settings. Moreover, the process in which the goniometer measures surface energy only applies to smooth, flat surfaces. This obviously has its set backs on the production floor as manufactured parts can have rough or curved surfaces. To measure surface energy, the benchtop goniometer uses a syringe to build a bead of liquid which is touched to the surface for deposition. The user then measures the contact angle from a horizontal profile by visual examination. This technique requires significant training and leaves plenty of room for human error. Thus, the benchtop goniometer primarily applies in a laboratory setting with minimal environmental variables and thoroughly trained users. …Read More
The history of BTG Labs is rooted in adhesion research. Originally a development lab, BTG Labs specialized in plasma polymerized coatings. The engineers worked with coatings containing corrosion resistant and anti-microbial properties. BTG Labs worked to improve adhesives and surface treatment processes. This brought about the Surface Analyst and today, BTG Labs still utilizes its twenty plus years of Materials Science expertise to assist manufacturers in understanding how the Surface Analyst fits into their production process and how their surfaces affect the overall manufacturing processes.
As an innovative and investigative materials science company, BTG Labs boasts a highly sophisticated lab with several analytical instruments. BTG Labs not only produces the ideal surface measurement device, but it can help develop surface preparation processes, trouble shoot existing surface sensitive processes, and diagnose surface chemistries.
Knowing Your Surface
Surface chemistry directly relates to surface energy and can predict a surface’s ability to maintain a bond. Thus, when developing or remodeling surface processes, knowing the chemistry of one’s surface is a good starting point. Our X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS) uses X-Rays in an ultra-high vacuum system to provide elemental information of specific surface chemistry. Sensitive to the top two molecular layers of a surface, the XPS reveals to the customer exactly what is on the surface of their product.
The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), another powerful technique utilized for surface analysis, uses infrared light to detect the presence of functional groups on the surface of your material. It is also capable of coating characterization (i.e. liquid films, contaminant residue, coupling agents etc.). With specular reflectance, attenuated total reflectance (ATR), transmission, and diffuse reflectance accessories, BTG Labs is equipped to analyze a vast array of materials and surfaces.
Unraveling Grit-Blasting Effects
This paper is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dr. Giles Dillingham, BTG Lab’s chief scientist, and other members of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Chemical and Material Engineering, Boeing, and the Materials Directorate of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base to study the effects of grit-blasting on graphite/epoxy composites.
Grit-blasting, a commonly used surface preparation process frequently applies to polymer composites. However, very little experiments and observations exist concerning the effects of grit-blasting on the surface properties of composites. …Read More
Fluid Deposition Style of Contact Angle Measurements
Measuring the contact angle of a fluid on a surface provides an accurate reading of surface energy. However, methods of depositing the droplet and measuring the contact angle vary. With this sensitive process, every detail and particularity effects the measurement.
Common surface measurement instruments, such as goniometers, use an automated syringe needle to deposit a single drop of fluid. However, the manner in which the drop of fluid is deposited greatly impacts the contact angle and entails precise control. Furthermore, the composition of fluid used effects the measurement and potentially the surface.
Alternative fluids can be dangerous to the user and contamination to the material. This often requires the use of a coupon, or sample rather than a measurement on the actual surface of the material in question. Furthermore, a single drop does not have the ability to measure on diverse surfaces.
Higher Performance Materials Call for Higher Demand of Quality
In the automotive industry, there is a constant focus on higher performance materials that provide more with less — better strength, better fuel economy, and better durability at the expense of weight and cost.
What manufacturers once produced in steel and iron they now make in aluminum. Furthermore, manufacturers are increasingly replacing aluminum with composite. Whether it is a car roof, hood, trunk lid, intake manifold, or dashboard, automotive manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of what they thought was possible for material performance.
New materials require new coatings, new adhesives, and new paints. And all of these require new process solutions to guarantee an ever-increasing demand of quality.
A major challenge has been the need to shift to a higher performance material that requires bonding, coating, sealing, painting, or printing. These materials often have more stringent processing specifications to get similar adhesive performance. …Read More