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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 5 MS/s up to 10 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 Card Families

59xx
Family
A/D family
Sample rate
5 MS/s - 125 MS/s
Resolution
16 Bit
44xx
Family
A/D family
Sample rate
130 MS/s - 400 MS/s
Resolution
14 Bit 16 Bit
65xx
Family
D/A family
Sample rate
40 MS/s - 125 MS/s
Resolution
16 Bit
22xx
Family
A/D family
Sample rate
1.25 GS/s - 5 GS/s
Resolution
8 Bit
66xx
Family
D/A family
Sample rate
625 MS/s - 1.25 GS/s
Resolution
16 Bit

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