Microscopy

The AMRC Microscopy team provides a range of surface integrity analysis services to support product and process development.

We have dedicated laboratory facilities to support our research groups and partners. We help demonstrate that the components produced by innovative manufacturing processes can meet the material standards of aerospace and other safety-critical industries. We have UKAS accreditation for microhardness, surface roughness and optical microscopy – for more information, download our UKAS Schedule.

Our work focuses on proving the surface integrity of workpieces. The combination of stress and temperatures generated during machining can alter the properties of the surface material of the alloy being worked, which can significantly affect the performance of the final component. Before innovative manufacturing processes and machining processes can be put into production, it’s vital to fully understand the effects of the operating parameters on surface performance.

Our key areas of analysis include:

Microstructure analysis
Small samples are removed from the workpiece, polished and prepared in a way that avoids the risk of additional damage, and chemically etched to reveal grain boundaries and other microstructural features. Our facilities include a Carl Zeiss EVO LS25 scanning electron microscope, and a Leica DM IRM inverted microscope (max 1500x magnification).

Tribology
We examine surface finish for features such as notches, scratches and pits which could act as fatigue crack initiation sites. We use an ADE Phase Shift MicroXAM white light interferometer to measure three-dimensional surface roughness; and a Mahr Perthometer for two-dimensional surface profiling.

Microhardness
We study microhardness to identify changes in sub-surface mechanical properties introduced by machining of the workpiece. Measurement involves the use of a diamond indenter to produce very small indentations, allowing individual grains or phases of an alloy to be measured. We use a Mitutoyo HM-122 testing machine.

For more information, contact:
Holger Krain
, microscopy lab manager
email: h.krain@amrc.co.uk