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Materials Science

Since the dawning of the industrial revolution humans have looked to advances in Material Science to help them obtain superior products with improved performance and/or lower cost. Traditionally, this has been achieved by the application of developments in Physics, Chemistry and Engineering that have enabled dramatic advances in the properties of materials such as metals, ceramics, composites, polymers and semiconductors. In more recent times Materials Science has even expanded into the realms of nanotechnology and biological materials (or biomaterials).

Materials Scientists primarily study the relationship between how a material is processed and its structure, with the aim of understanding how this effects its properties and performance. The knowledge not only leads to new products with improved characteristics but also to a predictive ability that allows engineers to estimate a products overall capabilities and its likelihood of failure. For example, the study of metals, alloys and composite materials, as they undergo repetitive loading enables aeronautical engineers to predict possible component fatigue and failure; it's knowledge that is crucial for safe aircraft design and operation.

Depending on the intended application, Materials Science can involve the measurement of a wide range of material properties. These can include mechanical properties (such as strength, durability, hardness, flexibility, roughness, etc.), optical properties (like the refractive index, luminosity, photo-sensitivity, etc.), thermal properties (melting point, expansion, conductivity, etc.), electrical properties (resistance, conductivity, capacitance, etc.), chemical properties (pH, corrosion resistance, reactivity, surface tension, etc.) and even properties relating to magnetism, acoustics, radiation and more. Various test procedures have been developed to allow the measurement of all these parameters and many of them involve the use of sensors and transducers. In most cases these sensors convert a specific parameter to an electrical signal that needs to be acquired and analyzed.

Experiments in Materials Science can also be divided into both destructive and non-destructive testing (NDT) processes. Destructive methods usually involve testing the materials to the point of failure. Stress, crash and impact testing are some common examples. NDT on the other hand aims to determine a materials properties without damaging the test specimen. As such, NDT involves a number of advanced techniques such as ultrasonic, optical and X-ray imaging, that utilize electromagnetic radiation or sound to inspect components and test samples.

Spectrum, with its wide range of digitizer and generator products, can play a key role in many of these measurement processes. For instance, mechanical measurements typically involve the use of sensors and transducers that convert mechanical parameters such as force, acceleration, pressure, rotational speed, and their kindred into electrical signals in the DC to MHz frequency range. To ensure their accurate and precise capture Spectrum has a range of digitizers to match almost all applications. These products offer measurement capabilities on one to hundreds of channels, sampling rates from 100 kS/s to 250 MS/s, high resolution (up to 16 bits), low noise and flexible signal conditioning. The wide range of performance levels allows engineers and scientists to match the digitizer to most types of sensors and transducers.

For applications where even higher speed signals need to be acquired, such as in radiation, ultrasound, nanotechnology or semiconductor applications, even faster digitizers are available offering sampling rates up to 5 GS/s and bandwidths in excess of 1.5 GHz.

Spectrum Product Features

  • Digitizers with up to 16 Bit Resolution
  • Sampling rates available from 100 kS/s up to 5 GS/s
  • High precision – low noise designs for signal acquisition and generation
  • Optional amplifiers for low level signal monitoring
  • Multi-channel cards and systems with fully synchronous acquisition and generation

Matching Product Families

  • M2p.59xx: 16 bit 5 MS/s to 125 MS/s Digitizer
  • M4i.44xx: 16 Bit 250 MS/s to 14 Bit 500 MS/s Digitizer
  • M4i.22xx: 8 Bit 1.25 GS/s to 5 GS/s Digitizer
  • M4i.66xx: 16 bit 625 MS/s to 1.25 GS/s AWG
  • M2p.65xx: 16 Bit 125 MS/s to 40 MS/s Arbitrary Waveform Generator

Related Documents

Mechanical Measurements Using Digitizers

Measurements on mechanical devices and systems using a modular digitizer requires the use of a variety of transducers or sensors in order to convert mechanical parameters such as force, acceleration, pressure, rotational speed, and their kindred into electrical signals you can measure. This article is a primer on making such measurements using a modular digitizer.


Ultrasonic Applications

The use of Ultrasonic products is increasing as new techniques and improvements in instrument performance constantly expand the range of applications. Spectrum digitizers are ideal tools for making ultrasonic measurements and can play a key role required in the development, testing and operation of these products. Spectrum digitizers and arbitrary waveform generators offer a wide range of bandwidths, sampling rates, and dynamic range to match the broad spectrum of ultrasonic measurement needs


Useful Links

  • At the Shandong University, School of Mechanical Electrical and Information Engineering, Weihai, China they are using acoustic emission together with the model M2p.5922-x4 20 MS/s, 16-bit Digitizer to detect broken wires in bridge cables. Details of the research can be found here
  • The University of Lorraine, CNRS, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, in France, is using a digitizerNETBOX DN2.496-16, to study contact interactions in aircraft engines with small blade-casing clearances. To investigate these interactions and the mechanisms of wear deriving from them, they’ve developed a specific ballistic bench in order to perform representative tests of low-pressure compressor environments (up to 270 °C) and enabling only one interaction between an aluminum-based abradable sample and a Ti6Al4V tool. A paper discussing the effects at different temperatures can be found here
  • At the Changsha University of Science & Technology, China, they have developed a Brillouin optical time-domain reflectometer based on discrete Fourier transform (DFT-BOTDR). The system uses a 1.25 GS/s M4i.2210-x8 Digitizer to acquire strain sensing information on a 5 km long sensing fiber that has pulse widths of 300 ns. A white paper here discusses how their signal processing method is promising for accurate location of distributed strain/temperature measurements
  • Find out how the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience,Tsukuba, Japan uses a Spectrum high-resolution digitizer M2i.4741 to collect strain array data as part of their investigations into shear strain fields that are associated with supershear rupture by clicking here
  • See how Spectrum AWG's M2i.6021-exp are used in Electron-Beam Induced Deposition (EBID) at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, by clicking here
  • See how Shanghai University of Engineering and Science, Shanghai, China, use Acousitc Emission techniques to study tensile fracture in polyester and cotton with a Spectrum digitizer M2i.4911-exp (this article is in Chinese) by clicking here
  • Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) is a key technique for the study of the structure and dynamics of molecular systems. At the Walter Schottky Institute of the Technical University Munich they are using a Spectrum M4i.4451-x8 digitizer card to help detect, acquire and analyze spin echoes in a pulsed ESR system. A white paper summarizing the experimental setup and results is available here

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Phone +49 (0)4102 6956-0
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