Tag Archives: contact angle measurements
Watch the latest BTG Labs’ video showing the Surface Analyst’s revolutionary method for optimizing critical surface processes in manufacturing.
This video demonstrates how the Surface Analyst provides total surface quality control for manufacturers who previously had ineffective methods, or no method at all. The instrument’s portability, ease-of-use, intuitive GUI, and rechargeable battery provides a surface cleanliness gauge that verifies surface treatment directly on the factory floor.
Maintaining control of a surface allows the manufacturer to guarantee bonds, paint, and adhesives. The Surface Analyst provides instant quantitative surface cleanliness measurements to verify these bonds will hold reliably.
The utilization of composites increases daily in manufacturing as more ways in which to use this advanced material are discovered. Composite is a smart material that provides a lighter weight and stronger product. This advanced material is being used in many different industries, from consumer products like bicycle frames to airplanes. Yet, because the strength is held in the fibrous matrix of the material, composites must be adhesively bonded together as traditional mechanical fasteners can break the fibers and compromise the material’s integrity.
To guarantee these bonds, BTG Labs’ Surface Analyst™ precisely, accurately, and quantifiably measures the surface’s readiness to bond. BTG Labs’ experience in the field of composites reaches back to the genesis of the Surface Analyst when the USAF turned to the company to engineer a hand-held surface energy measurement device for composite bonding of aircraft. Since then, the Surface Analyst’s composite applications continue to increase and span into many more industries.
Surface Analyst Applications Examples for Bonding, Coating, Sealing, and Painting Composites
- Aerospace: satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft
- Sports and Recreation: sporting equipment
- Automotive: structural components, drive shafts, interior parts
- Medical Device: prosthetics, repair equipment, tubing
- Marine: structural frames and components, fiber glass applications
- Renewable energy: wind turbines, fuel cells, marine turbines, power transmissions, solar panels
- Construction: architectural, fiberglass, bridges, infrastructure, housing, refurbishing
A Frequently Asked Question BTG Labs Decided to Answer
When measuring and quantifying surface energy, a common question arises: “Does roughness impact contact angle measurements obtained by the Surface Analyst?” While there exists some studies and speculations, this was still a grey area. So, BTG Labs decided to take matters into their own hands. The Materials & Process Specialists at BTG Labs constructed a research project to study the effect–or lack thereof–of roughness on contact angle measurements.
BTG Lab’s Scientists used a Surface Finish Comparator. This nickel plate containing 21 panels of varying roughness and texture is representative of surfaces typically encountered in manufacturing processes. The Surface Analyst showed no correlation of contact angle with roughness. …Read More
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:
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
conPolymers are some of the most common base materials used in automotive parts. Polypropelenes, Polyolefins, and ABS plastics are used in dashboards, door panels, bumper fascias, liftgates, sensors, and increasingly exterior doors and fenders. A polymer is a low surface energy material that typically needs some form of surface processing prior to bonding an assembly, encapsulating a sensor, painting an interior control knob or an exterior bumper fascia. These materials also tend to show high contamination with mold releases that can be tough to remove and will essentially guarantee unsuccessful adhesion or coating.
There are a variety of surface processing methods used in the industry to help remove contamination and increase the surface energy of these polymer materials. These processes include flame treatment, plasma treatment, corona treatment, and solvent wiping. Another option is to utilize specialty paints and adhesives that tolerate lower energy substrates. There are pitfalls, however, to implementing any of these methods that manufacturers need to be aware of. Understanding the nature of these surface-critical systems is the only way to guarantee success in the final result. Control of the inputs means predictability and control of the output.