S O L U T I O N S .

Surface roughness testing with optical profilometry

Surface roughness testing with optical profilometry

What is SSurface Roughness Testing

Element’s surface roughness testing uses 3D optical surface profilometry for measuring the surface roughness of components. Surface measurement of elevations and discontinuities is required for quality pass control of highly smooth surfaces and the characterization of surface defects. 

Many components and products require a certain surface smoothness for their full functionality. Surfaces that are too rough can affect the flow of gases or liquids, the gloss, and even the acoustic and mechanical properties of a component. The smoother a surface, the higher the manufacturing effort and cost, as a rule. We help our clients during the R&D stage and quality control to find the balance between tolerable surface roughness and costs. In operation, undesirably rough surfaces indicate friction, which can cause components to wear out more quickly. Surface discontinuities and roughnesses are also common at sites where defects are prone to nucleate, and the suitable characterization and determination of these are crucial.

With contactless optical profilometry, Element helps to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of surface examinations and analyses. It can be used for almost any kind of solid materials and offers advantages in terms of speed, accuracy, and surface integrity over other surface inspection methods like optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), contact profilometers, or calibrated gauges. 

Practical applications of optical profilometry

The equipment provides quantified 3D characterization for a wide range of surfaces, from rough to smooth, hard to soft, adhesive, deflectable, or otherwise difficult to measure. Typical applications of surface profilometry and analyses are:

  • Determination and analysis of corrosion pit dimensions (diameter, depth)
  • Determination of microscopic particles dimensions over a substrate/surface (e.g., particles characterization, contaminants
  • Wear pattern visualization and quantification
  • Roughness measurements, including rounded surfaces
  • Determination of thread dimensions (for threading heights <10mm) 
  • Coatings depth and defects measurements
  • Dimensioning of microscopic fractographic features
  • Determination of surface roughness and defects of fatigue tests

This technique is capable of rapid three-dimensional surface measure down to the resolution of surface lay and waviness