A key aim of the laboratory is to exploit the expertise and world-leading facilities that are available on the Harwell Campus, to assess new material processes, joining techniques and 3D printing technologies for application in space. More information about our involvement can be found on the STFC website.
The laboratory tests samples of materials used for space projects and supports a wide range of specialist topics including additive manufacturing, joining technologies and assessment of new materials.
The electronics group at RAL Space has used the laboratory to do an analysis on a component. The laboratory also offers services in powder characterisation, metrology, microstructural characterisation and heat treatment, mechanical testing and failure analysis, and non-destructive residual stress measurement.
Companies use the ESA-RAL Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory due to the specialist and state of the art equipment it houses. These include:
LEO 1530 VP Carl Zeiss SEM (image left)
- FEG ZrO source and GEMINI optics for ultra-performance sub-micron imaging
- Oxford Instruments X-Max 80mm2 EDX system
- EDAX EBSD system
Phoenix v|tome|x (image right)
- Up to 225kV 2D x-ray inspection and 3D computed tomography
- GE reconstruction and VGStudio software for 3D analysis
Testometric M500-50AT (image left)
Quorum Q150R ES Coater (image right)
- 50kN load cell, range or grips and strain gauges, winTest™ Analysis software
- JLS split vertical furnace for high temperature testing
- 50kN capacity
- Allows sputter coating with carbon, gold, platinum or combination
- Precise film thickness monitor
Buehler SimpliMet™ XPS1 Mounting System (image left)
- SmartCool™ technology optimising process time and minimising water use
- 30 mm mount sizes
Buehler Isomet® 4000 Precision Saw (image right)
- Provides reliable, repeatable results due to automated SmartCut™ operation
- Manual mode of operation for cutting with precision in the order of 2 microns
- Blade speeds of 200-5000rpm
Heat treatments (image left)
- Borel tubular furnace for heating up to 1500 ⁰C in controlled environments
- Carbolite Gero NR30 natural convection oven for heating to 300 ⁰C
- Carbolite RHF air furnace for heating to 1500 ⁰C
Polishing Equipment (image right)
- Two Struers LaboPol 5 polishers with adaptable discs.
- Saphir 550 12" polisher with pre-programmable polish parameters
- Pace Technologies Giga 1200 vibratory polisher for polishing samples ready for back scattered analysis.
For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries