Materials Characterization

Materials are studied using a range of tools including microscopes, thermomechanical analyzers, and a vector network analyzer.

Polymer Analysis


The hardness of rubber, plastic, and other non-metallic materials can be measured with a durometer. The test is nondestructive and does not require elaborate specimen preparation, which makes it an ideal method for checking materials under any condition with accuracy and reliability.


Rex Gauge Model DD-4 Digital Durometers
  • ASTM Type A (soft rubber, plastics, and elastomers)
  • ASTM Type D (harder rubber, plastics, and thermoplastics)



Composite Analysis


Composite fiber volume fractions can be measured using chemical removal of the polymer matrix or burning off the matrix with a high temperature muffle furnace.


Barnstead Thermolyne 48000 Furnace

  • Temperature operating range of 1093°C (continuous) and 1200°C (intermittent)


Microscopy Facility


CEAM has several optical microscopes for inspection of samples, as well as access to scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) at the Nano3 facility at Calit2.

  • Nikon Optical 50-1000x
  • Stereo Vision and Photo Capabilities
  • Dinolite USB microscope model AM-4013 MT 25-255x
  • Computer interface and digital measurement
  • Mitutoyo TM-500
  • Two axis digital stage


Thermal Analysis


CEAM has two DMAs and one DSC for characterizing thermal and mechanical properties over a wide range of temperatures.  Typically, DSC is used to study the chemistry of polymers, including reaction kinetics.  DMA results are often used to create master curves for polymers.


TA Instruments 2980 Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA)

  • -145°C to 600°C
  • 0.01 Hz to 200 Hz
  • 18 N max force


Bose Electroforce 3200 Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA)

  • -184°C to 315°C
  • 0 Hz to 200 Hz
  • 450 N max force


TA Instruments 2920 Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC)

  • -145°C to 600°C
  • Temperature modulation





Ultrasonic Characterization


CEAM has several ultrasonic characterization stations.



  • Olympus Panametrics
  • Longitudinal and shear
  • 500 kHz - 5 MHz



  • Tektronix DPO 3014


Signal generators

  • Agilent 33220A



  • Piezosystems Inc. EPA-104 0 – 250 kHz
  • Ritec GA-2500A 250 kHz - 5 MHz


Temperature chamber

  • Sun Electronics System model ET1-2
  • -184°C to 315°C



Electromagnetic Characterization


An Agilent vector network analyzer enables full S-parameter electromagnetic characterization from 5 - 40 GHz.  The system is setup to create and measure focused beams or free space plane waves.


EM setup


Velmex 3D Scanner

  • 2' x 2' x 4' volume
  • Computer controlled




High-Pressure Characterization


CEAM has a set of devices for high-pressure research up to 20GPa.


Diamond Anvil Cell

  • Type 1a Bragg-LT (G) Plus, Almaz EasyLab Inc. London
  • Diameter of culet: 700 micron
  • Maximum pressure: 20GPa



Optiprexx Ruby Lux System

  • Ruby photoluminescence measurement
  • Spectrometer with a green laser (532nm @10mW)



Diacell iGM Controller with a guick-release Swagelok coupling

  • Automated gas membrane controller



high pressure setup



< Back to Experimental Facilites