The material lab is used primarily to test thermally sprayed and welded objects. The most important pieces of equipment in the lab are listed below.
Equipment for sample preparation
Prior to investigating microstructure or hardness of a component it is necessary to prepare a sample. The sample is cut out and mounted in a mounting compound for ease of handling. The surface of the sample is then prepared through grinding and polishing. In some cases etching is used to reveal certain aspects of the sample's microstructure.
There is an upright microscope capable of magnifications from 50 times up to 1000 times. It can be used for analyzing thermally sprayed coatings and weld joints. The adhesion to the substrate of a sprayed coating can be judged as well as patterns of pores and cracks. In weld joints, undesirable pores, cracks and oxides can be detected.
A stereo microscope for low magnification investigations is used both for prepared samples and complete components. The optics provide a 3D view.
Hardness testing equipment
Indentation is used to measure hardness of objects. An indenter is pushed into the material at a specific load. The depth and size of the resulting indentation is used to calculate hardness. The lab contains two hardness testing machines, one for macro-hardness testing for loads over 1kg and one for micro-hardness testing for loads under 1 kg.
Thermal conductivity system
Research is done on thermally sprayed heat barrier coatings which protect against high temperatures. To be able to determine the protective capacity of the barriers the researchers use a thermal conductivity system called Hot Disk. It measures thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity and specific heat capacity.
Equipment for testing mechanical properties
Mechanical properties can be evaluated using a tensile testing machine. The equipment can be configured for the following tests:
- Tensile test
Coating adhesion test
Equipment for measuring surface roughness
Surface properties of components or samples can be evaluated with a surface profilometer. It determines the profile of a surface by dragging a stylus along it.