CSMA and TWI Collaborate to Provide Materials Analysis Service

13 May 2005

CSMA Ltd and TWI have put in place a partnership that gives clients of both organisations access to leading edge materials characterisation and analysis services.

CSMA is part of Stoke based CERAM, the international centre for materials and technology, while TWI is one of the world’s leading knowledge centres for the joining of materials, with offices and facilities across the UK and worldwide.

The partnership will allow clients of TWI, CSMA and CERAM (CSMA parent company) access to an extended range of powerful analytical techniques for physical and chemical characterisation of materials, including FRP composites.

Speaking to Tony Kinsella, Managing Director of CSMA earlier this week, he suggested that the collaboration would appeal to the clients from both companies who will benefit from the equipment and experience built up in both organisations.

Much of Ceram's work is focussed on examining the surface analysis and in particular the chemical structure of materials, which generate data that can be used for analysing defects and surface properties in detail. An example of one area the company have been working on is the analysis of double bonded surfaces in the aerospace sector.

Kinsella added that the pooling of technology resources from both companies will allow greater access to the technology from other companies who will be use their own data and produce analyses from the equipment.

Ceram's techniques include the new Imaging Time of Flight SIMS at CSMA, along with their existing XPS and Dynamic SIMS equipment, as well as the Field Emission Gun SEM at TWI. The combined capital investment of all the equipment in the 2 organisations is over £10m. The surface analysis techniques at CSMA provide quantitative Elemental composition; Oxidation state; Depth profiling of ion species and Molecular speciation…an unrivalled group of techniques.

Kinsella told Netcomposites that CSMA and TWI are already working on projects for customers of each others companies, and expect the collaboration to develop into significant commercial value over the coming years. Most industry sectors are covered by the two companies, and both have particular experience within the composites area.

A future development offering from CSMA will be remote terminal access direct to the TOF SIMS system, allowing clients to continue interpretation and investigation studies on their own site, at their leisure.

Kinsella added that ""sound, commercially viable application of technology to meet specific customer product development needs and process problems, is not just down to the availability of suitable equipment. The expertise and experience of the scientists and engineers who work with it is crucial. There is a lot of excellent equipment available for use in academia, often at very low cost. However, there is often little experienced support for the equipment and its application, leading to poor overall data and often wrong conclusions.""

Dr Andrew Sturgeon of TWI comments echoed the comments by Kinsella by asserting that ""the latest equipment and expertise available at CSMA is complimentary to the facilities and expertise at TWI, and will allow us to enhance our analysis capability and range services for industry.""

The TWI/CSMA partnership, which commences from 1st May 2005, overcomes this issue by joining two unique sets of resources.

The image is a chemical map of a laminate surface produced from CSMA's TOF simulator software.

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