Tag Archives: surface analysis
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.
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
A Meeting of the Adhesion Society
Annually, scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and students professionally concerned with the science and technology of adhesion, gather for a meeting of the Adhesion Society. Since 1978, this gathering has brought together these great minds to discuss, present, and learn the results of research and the newest findings in the science of adhesion.
BTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham has been presenting regularly since the late 1980s. In 2006, he was elected Fellow of the Adhesion Society in recognition of his contributions.
This year he will be presenting at the 40th Annual Meeting happening February 26 – March 1 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Dillingham will present on a paper entitled, “Control of Cleaning Processes to Maximize Sealant Performance.”
Controlling the cleaning processes of sealing surfaces in power train components is the key to long life and low warranty percentages in automotive manufacture. One of the final steps in the die-cast and machining process is cleaning. Current commercial washer systems can be quite effective at removal of particulate contaminates. The efficiency of washer systems has traditionally been evaluated using the Millipore Test. This method measures the mass of particulates post washing.
Conventional Surface Energy Measuring
For years, manufactures have implemented a conventional method of testing surface energy using a polyethylene solution called dyne inks. Dyne, when applied to a surface, can reveal the surface’s potential adhesion ability.
Dyne inks operate under the principle of surface energy or wetting, a phenomenon that correlates to the potential adhesive ability of a surface. When a substance comes in contact with a new material, the substance can show information on the surface energy of the material. The dyne will react depending on the surface energy.
When applying dyne, it will either bead up or spread out. If the material contains a higher surface energy than the dyne, it spreads out in attraction to the higher energy. If the material contains a lower energy level than the dyne, the ink retracts back into itself. The examiner must watch for characteristics of beading up or spreading out. If the ink beads up, that indicates a lower surface energy on the material than the ink. If the ink spreads out in a continuous film, the material has a higher surface energy than the ink. There are different dyne concentrations that can help discern the level of surface cleanliness.
With the exciting release and testing of the F-35 Lightning II, BTG Labs swells with pride over its involvement in the development of this remarkable aircraft. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office recently released a booklet of Small Business Success Stories to share the involvement and collaboration from innovative companies. The use of bonded nut plates makes this plane lighter and tougher. But, successfully bonding nut plates would require verification of surface readiness. BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst provided a way to accurately and precisely measure a surface’s readiness to confidently bond.
Water Contact Angle as a Quantitative Measurement of Surface Energy
BTG Lab’s Surface Analyst™ uses contact angle of highly purified water ballistically deposited on a material to determine surface energy. This surface energy correlates directly to a material’s ability to adhere. Contact angle effectively measures surface energy because of its strong correlation to surface energy. And, water, because of its polar nature, is a good indicator indicator of surface energy. Thus, measuring water contact angle quantitatively determines surface energy.
Water, as a highly polar molecule, is sensitive to the polar component of a surface. However, molecules on a surface bond together in two ways: by both dispersive (non-polar) and polar bonds. Ergo, total surface energy entails a calculation of the polar component and the dispersive or non-polar component of a surface. However, water contact angle is only sensitive to the polar component. This raises the question from customers:
Evolution of Aircraft Manufacturing: Moving Towards a Lighter Material
In the early 2000s, the U.S. Airforce recruited BTG Labs to aid in the development of bonding technologies for composite materials to replace heavier aluminum and titanium in aircraft manufacturing. Carbon fiber composites provide lighter, stronger options for aircraft materials. But, to realize these advantages composites must attach by bonding, not by mechanical fasteners. The primary obstacle to bonding has been the lack of a practical way to inspect a bond surface and ensure that they have been prepared in a way that will produce a strong, reliable bond. Thus, they needed a method to adhere the composites effectively, efficiently, and confidently. …Read More
Surface Requirements of Aluminum Castings
Automotive manufacturers widely utilize aluminum castings as the most successful way to create aluminum parts. However, this process can involve inorganic contaminants on the surface which interfere with potential bonding, sealing, or coating. BTG Labs conducted a surface analysis test for an automotive company by measuring contact angle with the Surface Analyst™ to determine the condition and cleanliness level of their aluminum castings.
Aluminum castings can sometimes entail silicone mold release or conversion coating which spells disaster for bonding, sealing, or coating. So the surface preparation processes of these castings plays a pivotal role in the success of any adhesion. For this analysis, BTG took surface measurements of the company’s machined engine front engine cover sealing surfaces in 10 different locations approximately 1.5″ apart. BTG measured in three different states: as received; after multiple isopropanol wipes; and after multiple hexane wipes. They also measured after treatment with 220-grit aluminum abrasive paper.
Handheld Solution for Verifying Surface Cleanliness
The Surface Analyst™ is an innovative handheld solution for use in the lab and on the factory floor. It reduces waste, rework, and recalls when poorly prepared substrate surfaces lead to bonding, coating, sealing, painting, or printing failure.
Using contact angle measurement, the Surface Analyst measures the cleanliness level of surfaces and determines preparedness for adhesion. Developed and manufactured by BTG Labs, it is a fast, easy, accurate, and nondestructive instrument for manufacturers with critical surface requirements. The Surface Analyst replaces legacy methods such as dyne and water break tests.
Measuring Contact Angle to Determine Surface Cleanliness
The Surface Analyst deposits a highly purified drop of water on the surface. In two seconds, it measures the contact angle and in turn, determines the cleanliness level of a substrate.
When a surface is clean, it emits high energy, and water–as a high energy molecule–spreads out on the surface, in attraction to other high energy molecules (Figure 1). A contaminated surface emits low energy and will cause water to bead up in attraction to itself rather than the low energy surface molecules (Figure 2).
By knowing the volume and area of a drop of water, the contact angle of the water against a given surface can be determined. The larger the contact angle, the more the water beads up on the surface – and therefore the lower the energy level of the surface.
The New BTG Labs
Welcome to the new BTGLabs.com, the online home of the Surface Analyst™. You’ve known us as Brighton Technologies, but like the scientists we are, we’re always analyzing, calibrating, innovating, and looking for new and better ways to solve a problem.
Our new name and logo better reflects who we are: a modern and innovative surface analysis company. We call the new, full color logo the Taking Flight mark. It is an abstraction of the contact angle measurement, flowing across multiple dimensions. The logo celebrates the uniqueness and innovation of BTG Labs as well as our ties to diverse industries. …Read More