| 4 min read

Harnessing  the Power of Water to Achieve Precise Results

Nature is miraculous. Living entities, be they plants, animals, marine life or humans, can perform an amazing array of complex tasks. As scientists, inventors, and engineers, we at BTG Labs take inspiration from any source that provides a good idea. 

We marvel at how the archerfish uses water to secure their food. The archerfish has a unique ability to create a waterjet that they use to efficiently target their prey — they can spit a jet of water up to 10 feet above the waterline and hit insects that drop into the water and become their next meal. Like the archerfish, BTG Labs has learned how to harness the power of water to achieve precise results. Using our patented Ballistic Deposition™ technology, the Surface Analyst builds the perfect liquid drop that can be used to measure contact angles. These precise measurements allow us to assess whether or not a surface is ready for adhesion.

Adapts to Challenging Environments

archer-fish

The archerfish needs to be precise when targeting its prey in order to survive. Although the archerfish is confined to water, it seeks to find food, which includes a variety of insects, on land. The archerfish can spit concentrated water jets at distances of up to 10 feet. As the configuration of natural obstacles perpetually changes, requiring the archerfish to continually navigate around leaves, low hanging branches, or other random natural structures, the archerfish must continually adapt to changes in the landscape of its “hunting grounds.”

The Surface Analyst™ 5001 has been designed to take contact angle measurements on surfaces with complex geometries and in unpredictable environments. Although the surfaces to be tested vary in levels of roughness, chemical composition and physical geometries, the Surface Analyst 5001 adapts to this variability and uses Ballistic Deposition to build fluid drops that enable precise contact angle measurements on variable surfaces with challenging geometries. Dynamic Detection algorithms adapt to the surface reflectivity and roughness to accurately measure the contact angle. By combining Ballistic Deposition, which addresses the needs of the material surfaces, with Dynamic Detection, which enable software driven “smart solutions”, the Surface Analyst 5001 achieves superior adaptability.

Rapid Pass/Fail Results

The archerfish knows immediately whether it’s been successful in targeting its prey. If successful, the prey drops into the water and the archerfish begins its next meal. If it is unsuccessful, the archerfish must adjust its waterjet and targeting. Failure means the archerfish goes hungry.

The Surface Analyst 5001 provides immediate pass/fail feedback in multiple formats including:

  • Contact angle measurement results that provide a pass or fail result reading on the device’s touchscreen
  • Yellow/green/red status lights on the Universal Inspection Head
  • Audible feedback

This immediate feedback allows your factory workers to know which parts have been properly prepared for adhesion and which parts need further processing. This real time feedback is essential to ensure successful bonding. For certain applications, including medical devices and aircraft, successful bonding is literally a matter of life and death. 

Extraordinarily Accurate 

The archerfish can iterate. If it is unsuccessful with its initial shots, it can change the height, angle, and speed of its waterjet to hit its mark. These adjustments are instinctual and mandatory for the archerfish’s ongoing survival.

We at BTG Labs know how to fine-tune our use of water streams. We have engineered a proprietary process to build the perfect water drop for taking contact angle measurements. With Ballistic Deposition, we can vary the sizes of the water droplets we use to take contact angle measurements. We can build a water drop that will provide perfect contact angle measurements on imperfect surfaces. This ability to custom tailor our droplets to the needs of each application allows us to conduct highly accurate surface energy measurements on very minute locations including narrow channels and ledges.

A Perfect Point of View

Sometimes the archerfish takes aim while it’s head is still underwater. Because light bends when it hits the water, the archerfish must compensate for the refraction of this imaging when it focuses on its target. Instinctually, the archerfish compensates, in real time, for any factors that impairs its ability to focus. 

Lucent lighting is embedded in the Universal Inspection Head. This allows the Surface Analyst 5001 to remove reflectivity and increase contrast while illuminating surfaces with diverse finishes. The flexible tether on the Universal Inspection Head enables exact positioning of the Lucent lighting – this facilitates obtaining precise results for every contact angle measurement. The archerfish relies on instinct for fine tuning it’s aim – at BTG Labs we have created complex algorithms to recreate, in real time, the ability for precise targeting on surfaces. The benefit to you? Consistent, repeatable and trusted results that will clearly indicate when your surfaces have been adequately prepared for bonding.

Self-Directed Learning

The archerfish is capable of learning. If it misses its target, it will keep trying until it has optimized the aim, angle, height, and force of its waterjet to capture its prey. Researchers have confirmed the archerfish’s ability to learn during controlled experiments.

The process analytics included with the Surface Analyst product line incorporates the cumulative learning of BTG Labs’ surface analytics experts. The process analytics will help your team develop customized workflows to enable them to consistently conduct perfect contact angle measurements. These workflows can be customized when new input requires refining the process for taking contact angle measurements. Multiple material profiles can be developed and each material profile can have its own process configuration. Collectively, your organization’s growing institutional knowledge of how to capture surface energy to prepare materials for bonding can be leveraged via process analytics.

The Archerfish’s Mouth and the GEM Drop

Although part of the archerfish’s anatomy, the archerfish’s mouth can be viewed as a water jet nozzle. This mouth harnesses the power of water to direct the angle, composition, height, and force of the water jets used to attack insects.

Perfect-Drop-sides-cropGEM Drop is part of the Surface Analyst’s 5001 anatomy. This jeweled valve dispense system harnesses the power of water to meticulously build the perfect fluid drop on disparate material surfaces. Just as the archerfish targets its prey in the wild, the GEM Drop takes sensitive surface chemistry measurements out of the laboratory and puts them directly on a live production floor. This allows users to take precise inspections in diverse crevices by depositing tiny water drops on very complex materials.

How Alike are the Archerfish and the Surface Analyst 5001?

The archerfish is not intimidated by complex terrain. It hunts for its land-based prey from the water. Because the archerfish is not capable of going onto land to capture its food, it has devised “coping mechanisms” to achieve its objectives of securing food. Likewise, BTG Labs is not afraid of complex geometries in hard to access locations. We have consolidated the expertise of our surface scientists and engineers into the Surface Analyst 5001 to give manufacturers the capability to accurately measure the readiness of surfaces for adhesion from almost any location on the factory floor.

To learn more about the benefits that the Surface Analyst 5001 can provide to your organization, visit the Surface Analyst 5001 product page.