Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Novel 3-in-1 'Rheo-Raman' microscope enables interconnected studies of soft materials
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 12, 2016

NIST researcher Anthony Kotula using the new rheo-Raman microscope, a three-in-one instrument that enables researchers to measure the flow properties of a material along with its microscopic structure and composition. Image courtesy D. Anderson and NIST. For a larger version of this image please go here.

An innovative three-in-one instrument that allows scientists to correlate the flowability of soft "gooey" materials such as gels, molten polymers and biological fluids with their underlying microstructure and composition has been developed by scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Simultaneous measurements yield a clearer picture of how structural make-up and flow behavior during processing dictate the macroscopic properties--such as strength, hardness, or electrical conductivity--that make so-called soft materials desirable for certain products or applications.

A novel combination of off-the-shelf instruments, the new research tool--called the rheo-Raman microscope--integrates:

+ a Raman spectrometer, which shines a laser on the sample and measures the tiny portion of scattered light that reveals vibrational energy levels of molecules in the sample, providing the equivalent of molecular fingerprints showing how atoms are arranged;

+ a rotational rheometer to track and measure how a liquid, suspension or slurry flows in response to stress--or, put another way, the degree to which the sample deforms; and

+ an optical microscope that collects polarized light reflected from a sample to increase contrast, enabling measurements of a specimen's structural features at microscopic scales.

The new instrument is designed for "multitasking," said Anthony Kotula, a NIST materials scientist. "It allows you to trace the evolution of microstructure across a range of temperatures and to do it in one controlled experiment rather than in two or three separate ones. It provides insights that would be very difficult to obtain through measurements made one at a time."

Homing in on the flow behavior is especially important, because it is intimately coupled with the microstructure and ultimate properties, Kotula explained.

Soft materials share features of liquids and solids. They range from plastics to liquid crystal displays and from contact lenses to biopharmaceuticals. For these "in-between materials," even slight variations in processing conditions can alter internal structures and drastically change material properties, which can open the way to improved performance or entirely new technological applications.

As they report in the Review of Scientific Instruments, the team used their prototype rheo-Raman microscope to follow and measure changes before, during and after melting a cosmetic material composed of coconut and almond oils and about 10 other ingredients. They also present simultaneous "melt" measurements taken on high-density polyethylene, which is used to make plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant pipes and many other items, as liquid molecules arrange and solidify into crystals.

Both demonstrations yielded a detailed, unfolding picture of how flow behavior and other phenomena during melting and crystallization correspond to changes in the shape and arrangement of molecules due to processing conditions.

"Based on the possibilities for direct correlation between chemical, structural and mechanical properties, we expect the rheo-Raman microscope to be critically relevant to both academic and industrial interests," the researchers concluded in their article.

"The rheo-Raman microscope is a general purpose instrument with lots of potential uses," Kotula said. "At NIST, one of our first applications pertains to 3D printing. We'll use it to better understand how polymer crystallization proceeds during the layer-by-layer printing process."

Research paper: "The rheo-Raman microscope: Simultaneous chemical, conformational, mechanical, and microstructural measures of soft materials"

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Lowering the heat makes new materials possible while saving energy
University Park PA (SPX) Oct 06, 2016
A new technology developed by Penn State researchers, called cold sintering process (CSP), opens a window on the ability to combine incompatible materials, such as ceramics and plastics, into new, useful compound materials, and to lower the energy cost of many types of manufacturing. Ceramics is the oldest known man-made material, dating back tens of thousands of years. Throughout that tim ... read more

Exploration Team Shoots for the Moon with Water-Propelled Satellite

Space tourists eye $150mln Soyuz lunar flyby

Roscosmos to spend $7.5Mln studying issues of manned lunar missions

Lockheed Martin, NASA Ink Deal for SkyFire Infrared Lunar Discovery Satellite

Schiaparelli readied for Mars landing

Opportunity at First Science Spot of its 10th Extended Mission

NASA's Opportunity Rover to Explore Mars Gully

Visitors to Mars could develop dementia from cosmic ray exposure

NASA begins tests to qualify Orion parachutes for mission with crew

New Zealand government open-minded on space collaboration

Growing Interest: Students Plant Seeds to Help NASA Farm in Space

Students team up with NASA for space coms and navigation

Closing windows on Shenzhou 11

From nothing to glory in six decades - China's space program

Beijing exhibition means plenty of "space" for everyone

Space for Shenzhou 11

Automating sample testing thanks to space

Orbital CRS-5 launching hot and bright science to space

Roscosmos Sets New Date for Soyuz MS-02 Launch to Orbital Station

Japan Schedules Cargo Transporter Launch to ISS for December 9

Orbital ATK and Stratolaunch partner to offer competitive launch opportunities

Trusted Ariane 5 lays foundations for Ariane 6

ULA gets $860 million contract modification for expendable launch vehicle

Ariane 5 reaches the launch zone for Arianespace's October 4 liftoff

TESS will provide exoplanet targets for years to come

The death of a planet nursery?

Protoplanetary Disk Around a Young Star Exhibits Spiral Structure

New Low-Mass Objects Could Help Refine Planetary Evolution

Novel 3-in-1 'Rheo-Raman' microscope enables interconnected studies of soft materials

French-Japanese laboratory to study materials under extreme conditions

Technique mass-produces uniform, multilayered particles

A breakthrough in the study of how things break, bend and deform

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement