Material Characterization

The Materials Characterization Laboratory specializes in characterization of construction materials (e.g. aggregate, cement, fly ash, concrete and asphalt) but also is equipped to characterize metals, polymers or virtually any other solid material. The facility includes all necessary sample preparation equipment, analytical instrumentation and expertise required to perform comprehensive material characterization and failure analyses.

Analysis Techniques

Optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray microscopy are employed individually or collectively depending upon research requirements.

Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is used to identify phases and provide quantitative elemental analyses. Elemental mapping is done with a scanning electron microscope and an X-ray microscope.

Characterization Technology

All of our microscopes are capable of capturing high-quality digital images. Image analysis techniques are used when suitable, helping to ensure accuracy and improve productivity.

Epifluorescent techniques are used to characterize the finest features of air-void and pore structures in materials.

A wet chemical laboratory is also available and can be used for a variety of analyses, both chemical and physical.


Facility Equipment

FEI XL40 Environemental Scanning Electron Microscope

Equipped with:

  • EDAX EDS X-ray spectrometer
  • Hot and cold stages
  • Electron back-scatter detector

Horiba XGT-200W X-ray Microscope

Olympus BX60 Polarized Light Petrographic Microscope

Olympus SZH10 Stereo-Zoom Optical Microscope

Logitech IU30 Vacuum Impregnation Unit

Logitech CS10 Thin Section Cutoff Saw

Ingram Laboratories Model 204 Thin Section Grinder

Lapmaster 12 Precision Lapping Machine

Buehler Ecomet Variale-Speed Grinder and Polisher

With Automet 2 power head

Buehler Vibromet 1 Vibratory Polisher

Diamond Pacific 24" Lapping Wheel