MicroLab Services, a division of Williams & Beck Engineering, is an analytical/microscopy laboratory specializing in small particle/contamination problems. Utilizing our refined analytical techniques we can isolate and identify contaminants from provided samples.

Inorganic samples are identified by elemental analysis and microchemical tests, while organics are usually identified by Fourier Transform Infrared Microscopy. A simple microscopic exam by our scientists may be all that is required to solve your particular problem.

MicroLab uses the most cost effective and thorough methods to determine the identification of substance or area of contamination.

Refined Analytical Techniques

Using cost-effective methods that provide results for the following:

  • Microanalysis
  • Chemical analysis
  • Cleanliness testing
  • Particle isolation/identification
  • Contamination analysis
  • Industrial forensics defect analysis
  • Microphotography

Case Studies

What Kind of Coating Was Used?

Black painted parts (covers) were failing UV tests. The good/bad parts were analyzed by reflective IR techniques by client without any useful results— there was carbon black pigment interference.

The client believed that a wrong coating was used but couldn’t prove it. Microlab took scrapings of good/bad coating. We used micro pyrolysis technique and examined pyrolyzate by microFT-IR. We were able to show that the wrong coating was used to paint the bad parts.

Industrial Air Dust

The client was concerned with hard water humidifier scale from ceiling misters and wanted a characterization of the dust. Initial microscopy exam showed most of the dust to be fibers. Simple ash analysis confirmed that the fibers were organic (no inorganic content). Ash analysis of the dust showed that only 15% of the sample was water hardness scale.

Dust Contamination on Cars Near Power Plant

Fly-ash was suspected as cause of dust contamination. Samples were taken from hoods of 2-3 cars and analyzed. No fly ash was found. The material proved to be pine pollen. The power plant was not at fault.

Paint Adhesion Problem

Blue paint was flaking from motor housings. The paint flakes were examined for artifacts using low power stereo microscopy and high power reflected light microscopy. This was a difficult problem to solve.

Careful microscopic exam of paint flakes showed rust particles and Newton rings (generally associated with oil slicks on water, thin films). Further exam showed micro sized oil droplets on the flakes. Drawing fluid used for manufacturing was found to be an aqueous based oil emulsion. This was not washed properly from the parts.