Material Composition and Structure

Related to: Metals, Alloys, Composites & Ceramics

Understanding the chemistry and structure of materials is key to understanding their behaviour

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Metals alloys and ceramics have a place in almost all of global manufacturing. Whether it is the turbine blades in a jet engine, the ceramic brake pads on a sports car or the steel cables for a suspension bridge, understanding the composition and structure of these materials is critical in understanding their properties. Using electron microscopy it is possible to characterise both these properties. Understanding the distribution and composition of nanoscale precipitates in Ni-based superalloys is crucial to understanding their performance under extreme temperatures. Using energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDS) in the transmission electron microscope (TEM) allows ultra high-resolution analysis of these materials to determine the chemistry of these precipitates. Our X-MaxN 100TLE EDS detector is the perfect solution for this; the high sensitivity allows analysis to be performed quickly and accurately whilst remaining sensitive to trace elements that may arise from contamination during the manufacturing process.

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In the scanning electron microscope  (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction can be used to characterise structural properties such as grain size and orientation as well as stresses and strains within the material. Our Symmetry EBSD detector is the perfect solution for any materials challenge, as the world’s first CMOS based EBSD camera it combines speed and sensitivity to acquire accurate results quickly.

This speed and sensitivity are enabling high-speed characterisation of large 3D volumes using slice and view techniques in the focused ion beam (FIB) ensuring that the material structure and composition is understood not just in isolation but in the context of the surrounding material.

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For larger volumes still, x-ray computed tomography is the most widely used technique, these systems require high-performance x-ray sources and detectors to ensure the highest quality data is collected. Our x-ray sources are used in tools to verify chemical composition of bulk materials by x-ray fluorence in primary and secondary (recycle) markets, as well as in x-ray diffractometers for precise crystallographic analysis. X-ray imaging techniques of absorption or scattering are the basis of measuring thicknesses and defects in advanced composite and metal structures.

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