Tag Archives: adhesives
Nestled in the tall pines of the Jemez Mountains lies the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This center of scientific excellence, brings together some of the top minds in the world to maintain the country’s nuclear arsenal.
This maintenance requires precise attention to detail and includes upkeep and repairs.
Dr. Dillingham presented to the lab last week on how those repairs can be improved and ways to establish the strongest possible bond.
His presentation, “Understanding and Controlling the Bond Surface in Manufacturing for Reliable Adhesive Bonding” delved into surface characteristics, the importance of controlling the bond surface, and characteristics of the surface that can be manipulated to form stronger bonds. …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.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does surface roughness affect the measurement? Can you measure on curved parts? Because the Surface Analyst uses patented Ballistic Deposition to deposit liquid drops, the user can easily take measurements on surfaces with varied shapes, orientation, and texture. While Ballistic Deposition minimizes roughness effects, if the roughness varies greatly from point to point, there can be a small effect on the contact angle.
2. Does measuring vertically impact the measurement? No. Because the Surface Analyst uses very small liquid drops, surface tension forces on the drop are much greater than gravitational forces. Therefore, orientation of the surface does not effect measurement: vertical, inverted, inclined surfaces all return the same value of contact angle.
3. How does it compare to a benchtop system? Unlike a benchtop goniometer, the Surface Analyst is portable and handheld, and removes subjectivity on the part of the operator in taking a measurement. It is designed to work on the surfaces of manufactured parts: injection molded, machined, sanded, blasted, painted, etc. where a benchtop goniometer is limited when it comes to measurements on parts with contours, shapes, and surface roughness. The precision of the contact angle calculation is equal to or better than a benchtop system.
4. What is the output of the system? What is it actually measuring? The Surface Analyst measures the contact angle of water, which is primarily sensitive to the polar component of the total surface energy. With a simple calibration curve, the water contact angle can be precisely correlated to the total surface energy. The surface energy of a material directly relates to cleanliness and to the potential to form a strong bond with an adhesive or coating.
5. What is the repeatability? The Surface Analyst has a repeatability better than 1° on well-prepared surfaces.
Improving Composite Bonds in Aircraft
The Surface Analyst™ technology has many of its roots in the CAI (Composites Affordability Initiative) program from the mid to late 1990’s. This industry/government partnership comprised of a team charged with addressing the perceived risks and barriers to a more widespread use of composite materials in aircraft design. The collaboration included members from the Air Force Materials Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, Bell Helicopter Textron, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Building a More Fuel-Efficient Automobile
The pursuit to produce a more fuel-efficient automobile does not rely solely on the efficiency of the engine. A great amount of fuel efficiency gains are possible not because of improvements to engine design, but because of improvements in materials. This is an obvious thing to say, but by creating a lighter body, an engine does not require as much energy to move a vehicle forward. Car manufacturers have looked to the aerospace industry for inspiration, and much like modern fighter jets, have settled on the use of composite materials in car frames and interiors to reduce weight.
As the use of composite materials continues to grow– and even become integrated into more critical parts such as automobile frames–the issue of safety becomes more important. Due to the structure of composite materials, mechanical fasteners sacrifice compatibility. The strength of composite materials dwindles when fibers break due to holes used for fasteners. Rather than using mechanical fasteners, adhesives replace fasteners to bond these composite materials to the frame. These bonds are strong enough to withstand the stresses of a wreck. This allows composite material utilization on critical components of the car frame. That is, of course, assuming the strength of the bond remains consistent – and that is where matters become complicated.
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
A Deep History in Materials Science
President and Chief Scientist of BTG Labs, Dr. Giles Dillingham’s fascination by the connections between the invisible (the molecular structure of the world around us) and the perceivable (the properties and behavior of materials and objects) stems from a very early age.
It wasn’t until he had nearly completed a degree in biology that he discovered the field of study that formalizes this broad interdisciplinary subject: Materials Science. After finding this new specialty, he went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1987. He used advanced surface analytical tools to demonstrate the ability of surfaces to profoundly influence the molecular structure of adhesives at the interface. …Read More