Scanning Electron Microscopy Mysteries

Concrete under SEM

Concrete under SEM

This week, I have been completing some work at the Queen’s University Facility for Isotope Research. There I am using a MLA 650 FEG Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) to investigate micro-cracking of high temperature exposed concrete. This work is part of the Sustainable concrete mixes with recycled concrete aggregates in high temperature project I am working on. I will discuss this project in a future blog entry. To the side is a sample SEM  image (grey-scale) of concrete.

Mystery #1

Mystery #1

But with all my samples completed and half an hour of time left on the 1.2 million dollar SEM machine, what is a researcher to do? Here are images of two different objects. They are not concrete; I challenge readers to solve the mystery of what these objects are. I’ll provide some hints:

The photo on the left is of a stainless steel object. In the past, this object would have been made from iron. The measurements indicate the width of ‘micro scuff marks’.

Mystery #2

Mystery #2

For the photo to the right, a very famous plastic object was used. The raised surface forms part of its branding. Actor Will Farrell recently popularized the object for its ‘sophistication’, but materials experts know it for its precision, which is verified by the measurement shown.

See if you can solve these mysteries! Follow my tweeter feed for the solution.

 

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