Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Infrared Surface Inspection
For more than 20 years, scientists at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant have collaborated with the private sector to develop methods for remotely analyzing surfaces, gases, and liquids by infrared (IR) and Raman spectroscopies. In addition, parallel research efforts have developed custom accessories and techniques for monitoring surfaces and thin films. Today, surface cleanliness can be certified with resolutions that are approaching one molecular layer.
IR inspection techniques for chemical analysis prove to be a significant advance in process control for the manufacture of reactive materials. Valuable attributes of these techniques include controlling environmental degradation of part surfaces, evaluating stains and surface cleanliness, and preparing surfaces for coatings and bondings. The ability to perform chemical analysis in a real-time manufacturing environment permits deterministic control of the production processes, minimizes waste and rework; and eliminates sample-based quality control.
Applications for IR inspection techniques include:
Evacuable cells for surface analysis by Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy a method to characterize the uranium oxide surfaces; the reactions of lithium hydride with water vapor; the isothermal oxidation of coal; and the cure and oxidation of graphite-epoxy composites. This technology won the I-R 100 Award in 1984 and the R&D 100 Award in 1989.
Spectropus™ a system to measure the extent of lithium hydride reactions with moisture by the quantitative analysis of lithium hydroxide down to sub-nanometer film thickness. This system integrated DRIFT technology with state-of-the-art vacuum and gas handling facilities for total in-situ surface and gas analysis in highly controlled experimental environments.
Inspector™ a system to measure the mid-IR spectra from flat or convex surfaces. This system was a further development that took advantage of, and built upon Spectropus System’s exceptional light collection efficiency. It has allowed fabrication of compact, field portable devices.
The above represent only a small portion of exceptional applications developed in collaboration between Oak Ridge and private industry. Benefits from IR inspection techniques include enhanced confidence in polymer composite materials used in air and space vehicles; increased reliable field inspection capabilities and methods; and reduced maintenance with improved reliability.
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