Material Characterization

Experimental characterization of your products as support for virtual material and microfluidic prototyping

Full insight through complementary techniques

Although advanced simulations are an extremely helpful tool in product development and prototyping, even we recognize the need for specific experimental product characterization. The creation of accurate simulation models that reliably represent your products often requires detailed input on both structural as well as physical characteristics. This information is not always directly at hand. We at Electric Ant Lab thrive to deliver the full solution which includes techniques complementary to high-fidelity computer simulations, namely wet-lab experimentation. We have experience in the use and application of a wide range of experimental techniques used for material characterization. Information obtained from these experiments is not only used as input in the development of the simulation models, it also serves as a means for model validation to ensure a high predictive power of our virtual solutions.

Microscopy

Before a detailed model of the material or complex fluid under investigation can be constructed, microscopic information about shape and size of the constituents or material structure is often necessary. In that case a detailed real view can be of great help. At Electric Ant Lab we have experience in working with a wide range of microscopy techniques. From Light Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy, to even Atomic Force Microscopy. Through our broad network of partners we have access to these techniques for use in the development of detailed and highly specific material and complex fluid models. See for example our work on Magnetorheological Fluids where the shape of the particles in this complex fluid is of great influence on its rheological behavior. In this case Scanning Electron Microscopy offered detailed insight in particle shape and size distribution.

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Scattering

Where Microscopy gives a detailed local view of the material and its constituents, scattering techniques can provide statistical information. From complete particle size distributions to statistical insight into the governing lengthscales in the system. Via our partners we have access to a wide range of scattering techniques as well as close contact with experts in these fields. At Electric Ant Lab we have experience working with Static as well as Dynamic Light Scattering, Near Field Scattering and even Small Angle X-ray Scattering. Although already strong characterization techniques by themselves, scattering in combination with microscopy can provide a complete picture of a material's or complex fluid's microscopic properties and provide the needed information ready for use in our detailed material models.

Rheology

One of EAL's main areas of expertise is the area of flow of materials. Thus, having access to the most commonly used flow characterization technique is essential. This is where rheology comes is. Whether it's about measuring elasticity of materials consisting of networks, determining the effect of the presence of particles in a complex fluid on its viscosity or capturing the magnetorheological effect in Magnetorheological Fluids, EAL has in-house experience with a wide range of rheological measurements and access to equipment through our partners. In simulations, rheological data not only serves as input for material parameters but also plays a crucial role as a means of model validation. In research, the high-fidelity computer simulations are a powerful tool to obtain more insight into rheological phenomena. In our work in collaboration with the Computational Science Lab at the University of Amsterdam, for instance, we use Lattice Boltzmann based simulation models to gain more insight into the underlying mechanism of shear thickening suspensions.

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Physical and Chemical properties of material constituents

Our bottom-up simulation approach requires knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of a materials constituents. The way in which these constituents interact with each other, is of great influence on the behavior and structure of the material. Several important interactions are connected to surface charge and surface chemistry of the constituents. There are several techniques that can help gain insight into these properties. Zeta-potential measurements for example give an indication of the surface charge of particles while spectroscopic characterization techniques like infra-red/Raman spectroscopy can yield information about a particle's chemical composition. At EAL we have experience in employing these kinds of techniques in material characterization and equipment is readily accessible through our partners.

The Full Solution

At Electric Ant Lab we aim to offer a full solution with our simulation approach. If this sounds interesting or if you would like to know more, get in touch with us or stay informed by registering for our newsletter.

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