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Washington State University Applied Sciences Laboratory

Synthesis and Processing

Polymers Synthesis Laboratory

The polymer formulation laboratory has various synthesis, formulation, and characterization capabilities. The lab is currently testing and developing environmentally friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic hydraulic fluids with long lifetimes and superior low temperature performance. In addition, customized sealants, corrosion resistant coating, and self-healing composites are being developed and tested.

Laboratory capabilities include:

  • Formulation of a wide range of materials, using our extensive inventory of chemicals. Many of our formulations use only industrially available chemicals.
  • Synthesis capabilities, up to 22L reaction volumes.
  • Chemical identification using FT-IR, gel permeation chromatography, GC-MS, and SEM-EDS.
  • Materials property testing, including tensile testing, contact angle measurements, and rheology.

Advanced Materials Processing

The materials processing laboratory has capabilities to process and fabricate novel alloys and composites including reactive metals. A variety of sample shapes, from cylindrical rods to coupons, can be produced for material characterization, testing, and component performance testing. For example, samples of Bulk Metallic Glasses (BMG) can be produced up to 1 kg size. The laboratory is equipped with:

  • Laboratory arc-melter for reactive metals and contamination-free alloying
  • Induction melting and resistance heating furnaces for high temperature processing
  • Casting system to produce BMGs
  • Metallographic sample preparation equipment

Wet-Chemical Synthesis

Standard wet-chemical techniques are available for the synthesis of a large variety of inorganic materials, including composites with organic matrices.

Thermal Processing

A variety of furnaces are available for calcination, annealing, and sintering of materials. In addition, a pyroprobe and a pulsed CO2 laser are available for rapid thermal treatments.

Fabrication of Ceramics

Ceramics can be fabricated by preparing the initial materials using a variety of techniques, subsequent ball-milling and pressing of green bodies, and followed by sintering in vacuum or specific atmospheres combined with uniaxial hot-pressing.

Physical Vapor Deposition

Two deposition chambers are available for the fabrication of thin films and nanoparticles. For high-melting point materials such as Y2O3, a CO2 laser can be used to heat and evaporate the target inside a chamber with subsequent deposition onto a substrate. The second chamber allows for the simultaneous evaporation of up to four different materials. This ability allows for the fabrication of thin-film composites, e.g. metallic nanoparticles inside a polymer matrix.

Spin-Coating

An SCS spin-coater is available for the fabrication of micrometer-thick films. A variety of inorganic and organic materials can be used.