Guess the Materials Characterization Technique

A man conducting materials characterizationAs a manufacturing quality engineer, your goal is to deliver uniform, defect-free products that provide consistent performance. While you expect things to be done right the first time, unforeseen mistakes are inevitable. If there is a defect in a final product, you must find the source of the failure as quickly as possible in order to avoid holding up the production process. If you cannot find the source of the defect, the item may require materials characterization to identify the cause.

Materials characterization can be used in many manufacturing settings. Here are some situational examples of cases that require a materials characterization technique. Do you know which materials characterization technique should be used to troubleshoot the problems below?

  1. Plastic parts supplied by a new vendor have a strong odor that parts from a previous supplier did not have. How can you determine if the off gassing material is hazardous to workers health or detrimental to your product?
  2. The prototype of a medical device made with the specialized alloy Nitinol is showing unforeseen signs of wear. Medical devices made with metals like Nitinol need to be passivated to avoid corrosion and maintain biocompatibility. Which materials characterization technique can you use to measure the passivation layer?
  3. A plastic toy manufacturer needs to ensure that if a child put one of the company’s toys in their mouth, it won’t make them sick. After noticing abnormal particulates upon their final product, the manufacturer needs to determine the composition of the particulate and see if their process needs an update. Which materials characterization technique can you use to analyze it?
  4.  You’re seeing spots on your Low-E glass and suspect corrosion is occurring somewhere in the stack of metal oxide layers. How can you determine if this is the case and where in the stack the corrosion is occurring.

Every materials characterization case is unique, so it takes the seasoned eye of an expert, like those at Innovatech Labs, to choose the correct approach to find an answer to your manufacturing conundrum. If you can’t identify the testing method used for the above cases, don’t worry, we’ll announce the answers in our next blog post. Stay tuned!

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