Surface Science & Coatings

The SSC department supports product and process development of surface critical products. Substrates studied include Al, Zn, Cu and steel sheet as well as Al extruded profiles, steel pipes, polymer sheathed conductor cables and metal-polymer composite panels. Surface treatments include cleaning, passivation, lacquering, painting, electrolytic etching, anodizing and phosphating.


All aspects of the substrate surfaces and coatings are studied to ensure optimum product appearance and functionality. Typical surface characteristics measured include:

      • Colour, gloss, topography
      • Coating layer structure, physical properties and integrity
      • Lacquer type and thermal properties
      • Surface cleanliness
      • Electrochemical activity


Techniques applied include:

    • Optical microscopy, White-Light Interferometry, SEM, EDX
    • Microhardness measurement
    • Colour and Gloss measurement, Colour Comparator for Liquid Lacquers
    • FTIR
    • DSC, TGA, DTA
    • Laboratory scale electrolytic etching and anodizing
    • Electrochemical (potentiostatic and potentiodynamic) polarization studies
    • Accelerated corrosion testing


Differential Thermal Analyzer (Perkin Elmer-DTA7)5-100oC/min rapid heating & cooling from ambient to 1300oC, nitrogen & air atmosphere.Determination of phase-change temperatures
ThermoGravimetric Analyzer (Perkin Elmer-Pyris 1 TGA HT)Microbalance accuracy ±0.02%, with accurate temperature control (50-1200oC, heating rate 0.1-200oC/min), nitrogen & air atmosphere.Quantitative analysis of compounds and volatile substances
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (Perkin Elmer-Diamond DSC)Temp. range -50 to 500oC (Intracooler), temp. accuracy ±0.1oC, calorimetric accuracy <±1%, scanning rate 0.01-500oC, nitrogen & air atmosphere.Accurate determination of phase-change temperatures & enthalpy
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (Perkin Elmer-Spectrum GX FTIR)Transmission & ATR FTIR Spectra, Specac Diamond ATR Identification of organic molecules
Gloss meter (BYK micro-TRI-gloss)Gloss measurements at 20, 60 & 85oGloss determination of Low, Medium & High Gloss Surfaces
Color meter (BYK spectro-guide sphere gloss model 6834)Lab* measurements, ΔΕ* repeatability 0.01, gloss at 60oColor characterization of surfaces

Gauge meter (BYK byko-test MPOR)Measuring range 0-2000 μm, accuracy ±1 μmCoatings thickness on ferrous & non-ferrous substrates
Solartron Analytical 1287 Electrochemical interfaceHigh accuracy, wide bandwidth potentiostat/galvanostat which offers a full range of ac/dc test capabilities and performs simultaneous voltage and current measurements. The measurement resolution and accuracy is down to 1μV for the reference electrodes and 1pA for the working electrode.

Also used for Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) over a full 10μHz to 1MHz frequency range.
Apparatus applications include:
• Corrosion and corrosion protection
• Properties of organic and inorganic coatings and films
• Development of novel anode/cathode materials and electrolytes
• Photoelectric effects

Equipped with Electrochemistry Software packages CorrWare and ZPlot which are specifically designed to run a wide range of electrochemical tests including:
• Impedance
• Potentiostatic/galvanostatic techniques
• Cyclic voltammetry
Solartron Analytical 1255B LF Frequency Response AnalyzerProvides precise measurement of gain and phase between any two points in a system.
ET system electronic
4.5KVA AC/DC source capable to provide constant voltage or currentElectrochemical testing:
• AC/DC anodizing
• AC graining
• Electrodeposition
Carbon & Moisture Analyzer (Leco RC612)Carbon 50 ppm to 20% & H2O 100 ppm to 20%Determination of Carbon/Water in solid samples

Other Labs

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Mechanical Testing
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Cooperations & Partnerships