Structural materials in the automotive and aerospace industry have a number of competing demands placed on them. They must be lightweight to improve fuel efficiency, economically viable, comply with strict safety standards and be recyclable. To meet these criteria, materials properties such as strength, ductility, toughness, formability, crashworthiness need to be characterised and optimised. These properties are closely linked to the materials microstructure by which we mean the materials composition and the phases present, the presence or absence of inclusions or precipitates and its grain structure and texture. These parameters can be measured directly in an electron microscope using energy dispersive spectroscopy for the measurement of the composition and determination of inclusions and EBSD for the characterisation of a materials grain structure, texture and stresses and strains in the materials. Defect analysis of advanced materials and components for transportation is performed by x-ray CT using our sources.
Automotive steels can be automatically analysed for non-metallic inclusions using AZtecSteel and rated according to a range of international standards.
Light metal alloys based on aluminium, manganese and lithium can be analysed using Ultim Extreme, an EDS detector optimised for the analysis of light elements down to Lithium.
Electrochemical AFM can be used to investigate corrosion processes in-situ, especially in combination electron microscopy based EBSD analysis. The Cypher ES AFM is ideally suited to corrosion studies, enabling the control of the measurement environment to mimic real-world corrosion conditions.
Measurement of inclusions in steel using an Ultim Max EDS detector and AZtecSteel
Time-resolved oxidation measurement of a brass/steel interface using AFM
EBSD grain map of galvanised steel