Fiber Quality Assurance

When Products Fail

Sometimes raw materials, process changes or human error create a product that does not perform as intended. Questions then need to be answered to determine root cause and prevent future occurrence. Here are two scenarios of how a scanning electron microscope can help find answers. 

When a Filter Isn't Filtering 

Nanofiber membranes attached to a filter media maximizes filter efficiency, airflow and lifetime. In this scenario, the filter did not pass testing. Why? Imaging in the SEM revealed an incomplete nanofiber membrane. At some point during processing or transporting, the nanofiber membrane detached, leaving exposed areas and reducing the expected efficiency and airflow for the filter.

Incomplete nanofiber membrane on filterSEM image of defective nanofiber membrane on filtration media  

Contamination & Foreign Material

Having foreign material is often as much of an issue as not having material where it is supposed to be. In this scenario, elements that were present in raw materials but not detected before use in manufacturing caused the loss of an entire batch of finished product. 

Screening materials before processing may prevent this scenario. With a Phenom SEM on location, using EDS for elemental analysis may be used to screen materials that are entering and exiting the process or during any stage of manufacturing.

EDS for filtration

EDS spectrum showing elemental identification