Basic Characterisation

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The Materials Basic Characterisation Laboratory, located in the Royce Discovery Centre, hosts state-of-the-art instrumentation offering the latest analytical techniques. Our range of cutting-edge instrumentation is fully calibrated and serviced to ASTM and ISO standards.

We provide a bespoke service to all external customers, and offer equipment access to students and staff across the Department, Faculty, and the University. Full databases and reports are provided as part of our Professional Service package.  

See our full Equipment List


The Basic Characterisation Lab offers an analytical service, which involves the process of measuring and determining the physical, chemical, mechanical, and Microstructural properties of materials.

This process leads to the higher-level of understanding required to resolve important issues, such as the cause/s of failure/s and process-related problems, allowing the manufacturer to make critical materials decisions. 


A photo of the basic characterisation lab

THERMAL ANALYSIS

PROPERTY MEASURED: PROVIDES
INFORMATION ON:
TECHNIQUES USED:
Mass change Degradation and composition properties, loss of water/solvents, decarboxylation, pyrolysis, oxidation, %filler, %ash, purity Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)
Dimension change Glass transition, softening points, rates of expansion/contraction Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) and Dilatometry
Change in heat capacity Phase changes, melting temperature, crystalline and amorphous behaviour, curing and degree of cure, glass transition, purity, degree of polymerisation Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and Differential thermal analysis (DTA)
Heat transfer per unit time Thermal diffusivity and conductivity, specific heat capacity Flash diffusivity

SPECTROSCOPY

Molecular characterisation of solid, liquid, and powder via FTIR and UV-Vis spectroscopy allows information about the structure and composition of the material to be gathered. 

PROPERTY MEASURED: PROVIDES INFORMATION ON: TECHNIQUES USED:
To obtain the infrared spectrum of transmission or absorption of materials
  • Chemical compound identification
  • Identification of polymers and composition
  • Analysis of purity
  • Rapid analysis of soft, powdered, or liquid samples using Diamond ATR
  • Specular reflectance
  • Direct transmission measurements
FTIR-400-8000cm-1 range
To obtain the spectroscopy based on the absorption of ultraviolet light or visible light by chemical compounds
  • Measurement of solid or liquid samples
  • Quantitative determination of different analysis using calibration curve
  • 3300-185 nm range
UV-Vis spectrometer

PARTICLE CHARACTERISATION

Particle characterisation of particles by particle shape, size, density, surface properties, and microstructure.

PROPERTY MEASURED: PROVIDES INFORMATION ON: TECHNIQUES USED:
For measuring the particle size and particle size distribution of materials
  • Particle size range
  • Last laser diffraction system with either wet or dry dispersion accessories (0.01um-3mm measurement range)
Malvern Mastersizer 3000 PSA
For measuring the density of materials
  • Density measurement for powdered and solid materials via helium pycnometry and Archimedes principle
Micromeritics AccuPyc II 1340
For measuring the Pore size and porosity of solid or powder samples
  • Pore size and porosity measurement (0.05-500 um) via mercury intrusion porosimetry
AutoPore 9620
For measuring powder flow properties and powder behaviour
  • To characterise the rheology of powders, or powder flow properties
  • The ability to simulate powder-processing conditions
  • To assess dynamic powder flow, bulk, and shear properties to construct the most comprehensive understanding of how a powder behaves
  • Range of sample size, 10ml to 160ml (in addition to 1ml Shear Cell is available)
FT4 Powder Rheometer

OUR EQUIPMENT

TECHNIQUES INSTRUMENT AVAILABLE
Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) PerkinElmer Pyris 1 TGA
Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) and Dilatometry Netzsch Dilatometer DIL 402 Expedis, PerkinElmer Diamond TMA
Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and Differential thermal analysis (DTA) TA Instruments Q600 SDT, PerkinElmer DSC6, PerkinElmer Diamond DSC, PerkinElmer DSC 4000, Netzsch STA 449 F3 Simultaneous TGA/DSC
Flash diffusivity Netzsch Flashline - LFA 467 Hyperflash - LT, Netzsch Flashline - LFA 467 HyperFlash - HT
Particle Characterisation Malvern Mastersizer 3000 PSA, Micromeritics AccuPyc II 1340, AutoPore 9620, Micromeritics GeoPyc 1360, FT4 Powder Rheometer
Molecular Spectroscopy PerkinElmer Frontier FTIR, PerkinElmer Lambda 900 UV/Vis/NIR spectrometer

PERKIN ELMER PYRIS 1 

A 20-position auto-sampler which allows the measurement of a large number of samples and is particularly useful for running samples overnight. 

Photo of the PERKIN ELMER PYRIS 1 in the Basic Characterisation lab

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PERKIN ELMER DIAMOND DSC

Allows heat flow determination between -90°C (via the use of an Intercooler III system) and 600°C. Sub-ambient temperatures are particularly amendable to the thermal studies of polymers. The diamond system also allows fast heating rates, so-called 'hyper-DSC' with rates up to 500°C/min (in helium), and therefore allowing kinetic studies.

Photo of PERKIN ELMER DIAMOND DSC in the Basic Characterisation lab

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PERKIN ELMER DSC6

Our Differential Scanning Calorimeters allow a range of transformations to be identified by measuring heat flow. The instruments measure the energy difference between a sample and a reference material as a function of time or temperature when both are subjected to a controlled temperature program. Both the sample and reference are maintained at the same temperature and the power input needed, related to heat flow.

DSC is an important technique for looking at phase and enthalpy changes. Our DSC6 has a maximum temperature of 445°C.

Photo of PERKIN ELMER DSC6 in the Basic Characterisation lab

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TA INSTRUMENTS Q600 SDT

Our DSC-TGA allows the concurrent measurement of both mass change (TGA) and heat flux (DTA/DSC). The instrument has a measurement range of RT - 1500°C with a normal heating rate of 10°C/min (other heating rates can be used). 

The advantage of using an STA system is that both energy and mass changes are directly comparable. 

Photo of TA INSTRUMENTS Q600 SDT in the Basic Characterisation lab

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NETZSCH FLASHLINE - LFA 467 HYPERFLASH LT

This equipment holds a xenon lamp as a flash source and the cost-effective veidium antmonide (iNsB) detector to cover a range of temperatures between -100 to +500°C.

Photo of NETZSCH FLASHLINE - LFA 467 HYPERFLASH LT in the Basic Characterisation lab

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NETZSCH FLASHLINE - LFA 467 HYPERFLASH HT

This equipment holds a xenon lamp as a flash source and the more advanced Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) detectors to cover a range of temperatures between RT to 1250°C. 

Photo of NETZSCH FLASHLINE - LFA 467 HYPERFLASH HT in the Basic Characterisation lab

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NETZSCH DILATOMETER DIL 402 EXPEDIS

A novel NanoEye optoelectronic sensor with unmatched resolution over the entire measuring range, which allows direct sequential measurement of samples of different lengths and with different expansion behaviour at maximum precision. Temperature range from RT to 1500°C. The process takes place in a vacuum and at high temperature. 

Photo of NETZSCH DILLATOMETER DIL 402 EXPEDIS in the Basic Characterisation lab

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MALVERN MASTERSIZER 3000 PSA

Our Mastersizer system allows particle size distribution to be measured via laser diffraction. The capabilities are for dry and wet dispersion, in either water or IPA. The system has a measurement range of 0.01μm - 3000μm. 

Photo of MALVERN MASTERSIZER 3000 PSA in the Basic Characterisation lab

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AUTOPORE 9620

Besides offering speed, accuracy, and a wide measurement range, Mercury Porosimetry permits you to calculate numerous sample properties such as: pore size distributions, total pore volume, total pore surface area, median pore diameter, and sample densities (bulk and skeletal). 

Photo of AUTOPORE 9620 in the Basic Characterisation lab

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PERKIN ELMER FRONTIER FTIR

Our Frontier FTIR allows spectroscopic investigations of the mid infra-red regions. Samples can be analysed using direct transmission - either as a raw material or in a KBr matrix - or via specular reflectance. 

Photo of PERKIN ELMER FRONTIER FTIR in the Basic Characterisation lab

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PERKIN ELMER LAMBDA 900 UV/VIS/NIR SPECTROMETER

Our Lambda 900 Spectrophotometer allows spectroscopic investigation of the UV, visible, and near-IR regions of your sample material. Sample holders can accept either solid films or plates, or cuvettes for liquid samples. 

Photo of PERKIN ELMER LAMBDA 900 UV/VIS/NIR SPECTROMETER in the Basic Characterisation lab

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PERKIN ELMER DIAMOND TMA

Photo of PERKIN ELMER DIAMOND TMA in the Basic Characterisation lab

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PERKIN ELMER DSC 400

Photo of PERKIN ELMER DSC 400 in the Basic Characterisation lab

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MICROMERITICS ACCUPYC II 1340

Photo of MICROMERITICS ACCUPYC II 1340 in the Basic Characterisation lab

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NETZSCH STA 449 F3 SIMULTANEOUS TGA/DSC

Photo of NETZSCH STA 449 F3 SIMULTANEOUS TGA/DSC in the Basic Characterisation lab

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MICROMERITICS GEOPYC 1360

Photo of MICROMERITICS GEOPYC 1360 in the Basic Characterisation lab

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FT4 POWDER RHEOMETER

Photo of FT4 POWDER RHEOMETER in the Basic Characterisation lab

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Our team of experts in Royce at the University of Sheffield would love to discuss how we could work together to create the next generation of advanced materials.

For general enquiries contact: 

royce@sheffield.ac.uk


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