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Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group

The group has a number of dedicated areas and facilities for sample preparation:

  • Spot welder - this is mostly used for joining thermocouples together to ensure good bonding between the wires.
  • Soldering irons
  • Fume hoods are available for both sample preparation, experiments and post experimental analysis where chemicals that can cause respiratory issues are used.
  • 3 roll mill. This apparatus can be used for example to reduce the size of particles for use as pigments in inks.
  • Ovens. We have a number of ovens which can fulfil a variety of purposes. A large capacity oven is available for big items, there is a smaller general purpose oven and an oven with programmable temperature gradients for annealing plastics and other more complex operations.
  • Furnace - this allows for sample processing up to 1200 degrees Celsius.
  • 30 ton press - a simple hand operated hydraulic press that is useful for pressing pellets of materials. We have a variety of pistons and dyes that can be used to make samples of different sizes.
  • Edwards evaporator - this allows for thin films of metal to be evaporated onto surfaces. Patterns such as gauges can be produced using a suitable mass.
  • Spin coating - this is a technique for thin film coating surfaces.
  • Lapping/polishing machines - we have access to a variety of surface finishing machines which can be used to prepare samples for electron microscopy work for example.
  • In the laboratory as a whole there are extensive workshop facilities, including a student workshop. This allows for a very¬†extensive level of component manufacturing to be done on site.