Machine Design

Just scratching the surface . . .and measuring it.

Researchers developing surgical implants, protective coatings for engine components, paints and hard coatings for tools are among those who will benefit from a state-of-the-art instrument recently installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Using the Hysitron Triboindenter, scientists and industrial users can measure the form and dimensions of parts and specimens on a scale from tens of centimeters to a few nanometers. "We're talking about eight orders of magnitude, or a size measurement range of about 100 million times," said Peter Blau, who heads the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Machining, Inspection and Tribology User Center. The new instrument, which is on loan for two years, allows nano-scratch testing, surface feature imaging, and dynamic elastic modulus mapping. Submicron-scale information gained from tests performed in Blau's lab at the High Temperature Materials Laboratory is critical to developers of new ceramics, plastics, and coatings for surgical implants such as artificial hips and knees.

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