Our Techniques

The SSW labs utilize a broad range of equipment and techniques to address your particular analysis requirements. Of the more than 15 types of analytical services we provide, the most common are Laser Raman Spectroscopy; Surface Profilometry; Corrosion and Electrochemistry; and Microhardness Testing.

To identify corrosion substances, detect a variety of inorganic oxides and even pigments in some paints, we use Laser Raman spectroscopy, which depends on a change in the polarization of a molecule to produce Raman scattering. When a beam of photons strikes a molecule, the photons are scattered elastically and inelastically, generating Stokes and anti-Stokes lines. With this technique, samples of any size or shape can be examined down to microscopic levels.

To measure craters in surfaces, thickness for thin metal and polymer films or detect defects and corrosion with 3D surface morphology, we conduct surface profilometry.  This uses a mechanical stylus surface profiler that measures the surface topographical features by maintaining a selectable constant contact force, causing the stylus to move up and down depending on the surface. The instrument handles samples as large as 8” in diameter and as heavy as 2 kg. This equipment also captures roughness and waviness estimation as well as step height measurement. If requested, you can acquire a 3D topographic image of the surface, which can be isolated for further analysis. 

In our Corrosion Testing and Electrochemistry Lab, we can handle multiple types and levels of complexity of materials corrosion testing. We analyze the behaviour of coatings like tin-plated steel, the corrosive behaviour of copper and nickel-based alloys for long-term storage or the corrosion of steam generator tubing materials. Whether part of a short-term or long-term project, our team will determine the root cause for the failure of the component you have provided.

For Microhardness Testing, a special tester is used to pinpoint the bulk hardness of metals, thin metal films and surface layers; even within limited surface areas.

These are just a few of the techniques we use at Surface Science Western. As the only Canadian, university-based surface and material analysis organization to hold an ISO 9001: 2008 standing, our team is dedicated to using first-rate techniques to help you better understand and leverage the materials and surfaces with which you are working.

For a comprehensive list of our services, kindly consult surfacesciencewestern.com/analytical-services or call us directly at (519) 661-2173.