The Materials Processing Institute has invested in high-specification microscope technology, to support the industrial sectors’ research and development.
The high-quality, scanning electron microscope is capable of producing high resolution magnified images of up to 1.3 million times magnification.
The microscope also utilises state-of-the-art analytical detectors and incorporates a bespoke designed hot tensile tester, enabling tensile and compression tests to be performed at elevated temperatures of up to 850°C, to allow in-situ analysis of high temperature deformation processes.
The new equipment is the latest in a £3m programme of investments, funded through Tees Valley Unlimited and Tees Valley Combined Authority, through the Local Growth Fund (Growth Deal).
The microscopic equipment has multiple applications, from producing crisp images of metallic structures, to studying organic matter such as bacteria, cells and organisms.
Combined with analytical equipment, the technology provides detailed analysis of materials samples to support failure investigation and defect analysis, particle and inclusion analysis and mapping, chemical and element mapping, corrosion analysis, material analysis and characterisation.
The new equipment can be utilised by a range of sectors including steel and other metal manufacturing, ceramics and glass production, oil and gas, and for forensic, biological or geological investigation.
The Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute is an open-access technology centre providing a range of research and development, and consultancy services.
The institute provides support to businesses in the development of new technologies and products. The new SEM microscope will enable the Institute to increase its offer, supporting more businesses and with a broader range of services.
CEO Chris McDonald said: “We provide important research and development facilities to support industry. Sustained investment is ensuring our laboratories continue to support businesses with an even broader range of research and analysis capabilities.
“The installation of this specialist microscope in our newly enhanced laboratories, further extends the services we are able to offer, to benefit industrial innovators and business development in the UK.”
• Pictured (above): Institute researchers Andy Richardson and Sarah Martin utilise the new technology.