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Applications in Ceramics

While infrared spectroscopy is not as commonly applied to ceramics analysis as, for example, X-ray diffraction or fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy, there are a variety of materials identity problems which can be readily solved by the application of micro-FTIR. Our specialty at Micro-Scan Services, Inc. is in the infrared spectroscopic analysis of contaminant particles in a variety of substrates. We can analyze particles down to a diameter of 10 microns in many cases and provide a good-quality infrared spectrum. Consider the types of analyses described below, and imagine where we can help you in you materials analysis problems.

FEEDSTOCKS
The finely powdered mineral feedstocks utilized in the ceramics industry can become contaminated with foreign particles as a result of raw material variations, manufacturing problems, or packaging or shipping contamination. In many cases, these are organic in origin and impossible to identify by X-ray or electron beam techniques. These organic contaminants can cause voids or cracks and even discoloration of the final product. We can analyze these particles at the raw or processed stage on up to greenware -- and in many cases, we can match the resulting infrared spectrum to our computer library of polymers, organic, and inorganic chemicals.
GLAZES AND FINISHES
Contamination of surface-finish chemicals can lead to cosmetic defects in the final product. Analysis of particulates isolated from finish powders or solutions can provide information leading to the source of the contamination. Even in fired products, some mineral contaminants can be identified by their mineral signature.
ORGANIC COMPONENTS
Many of today's ceramic products are used in combination with organic materials. Some processes utilize binders and other organic modifiers to aid in processing. Ceramics in microelectronic applications encounter adhesives, sealants, inks, and photoresists. Failures or the misapplication of these organic components of ceramic systems can be readily analyzed by micro-infrared analysis.
GLASS AND INORGANIC FIBERS
Unusual crystallites and inhomogeneities in inorganic fibers can be examined using the same techniques we apply to organic fibers. In some cases, we can identify the coupling agents or sizings used in the treatment of fibers intended for reinforcing polymers or composites. The limiting fiber diameter for hard materials is about 10 microns. Our major application area in optical fibers is in the analysis of defects and contaminants in the protective polymer sheath or in connector devices.
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