Evaluation of materials is essential during the development of manufacturing processes to determine the effect of process parameters on the performance of the finished component.

Our Microscopy Laboratory is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory. We can support your research with the following techniques:

  • Optical microscopy – including analysis of surface and sub-surface integrity, surface contamination, metallurgy and defects to characterise your material
  • Scanning electron microscopy – highly detailed examination of materials at low and very high magnifications, elemental and qualitative topographic analysis, chemical analysis by EDX and fractography 
  • Surface topography – quantitative analysis of surface finish by contact and non-contact methods
  • Hardness testing – hardness profiling and bulk hardness testing using Knoop, Vickers and Rockwell indenters to ascertain material properties

The microscopy laboratary is accredited to ISO 17025 as UKAS Lab 4192 to Knoop (50g and 100g), Surface roughness (Ra and Rz) and Microstructural Examination (https://www.ukas.com/wp-content/uploads/schedule_uploads/00002/4192Testing-Single.pdf).

To undertake the above mentioned examination, and others outside this scope, we have the following equipment for our use:

Preperation facilities:

  • Hot mounting presses: Struers CitoPress -1 and -5 (30mm and 50mm diameter).
  • Cold mounting vacuum chamber (Struers CitoVac) for temperature / pressure sensitive materials.
  • Automated Polishing equipment (Struers RotaForc-5 / Rotapol-32 and Tegramin-30).
  • Precision sectioning machine (Struers Secotom-50) with automated x-y- table (enables serial sectioning).

Examination facilities:

  • Roughness: Mahr Mahr Perthometer XCR-20 (roughness and contour measurement), Mitutoyo SJ-301 (portable roughness)
  • Hardness: Struers Duramin-40 AC10 (automated hardness tester with load cell of up to 10kg. Vickers and Knoop indenter), Mitutoyo HM-122 (manual tester: Knoop indenter)
  • Surface inspection: Zeiss Stemi 508 Stereo microscope (toolmaker and low magnifcation surface inspection)
  • High magnification inspection (optical): Leica IRM (inverted, up to 1500x mag, non-automatic), Zeiss Axio Imager.Z2m (upright, up to 1000x mag., automatic stage (x, y and z-axis), modules: automatic imagine analysis, NMI, grain size)
  • Carl Zeiss EVO LS25 SEM (High Vacuum Mode, Variable Pressure (for charge control), Extended Pressure mode (organic specimen))
    • SE and VPSE detectors for general imagining
    • 5 Sector BSD for imgaing
    • EDS detector (Oxford 80mm2 EDAX sensor) for semi-quantitive compositional analysis
    • EBSD (Oxford Symmetry sensor (High speed/low res as well as High Res/low speed modes), Large Area mapping module) for crystalogrpahic assessments.


Holger Krain