Characterization and Evaluation

All analysis, inspection and test procedures for surface characterization from a single source

The characterization and evaluation of surfaces by means of chemical, electrochemical and structural analyses provides valuable information about their quality and properties. Many technical properties and functions, such as adhesion, wetting behavior, corrosion, biocompatibility, friction, catalysis or appearance, depend primarily on the chemical and morphological structure of the outermost surface of the material in question. Optimization of these properties therefore requires detailed knowledge of the chemical composition and topographical properties of the surface.

Fraunhofer IFAM offers all testing and inspection procedures as well as accredited testing laboratories for materials testing, corrosion testing, paint testing, materialography, and analytics, among others.

In addition, the institute also has testing and inspection facilities under near-operational environmental conditions in List on Sylt, at the "Alte Weser" lighthouse, on the deep-sea island of Heligoland, and on the Brocken in the Harz mountains. An ice laboratory with an integrated wind tunnel is available for the application-oriented simulation of icing scenarios, e. g. for aviation or wind energy applications.

The evaluation of surface properties is supplemented by various computer-aided simulation methods and significant inspection and testing capabilities.

Analytical and imaging techniques for surface characterization


For comprehensive surface characterization, the experts in surface and nanostructure analysis at Fraunhofer IFAM have a wide range of analytical and imaging techniques at their disposal. For example, photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES), or time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) can be used to obtain detailed information about the elemental and molecular composition of the outermost surface. Imaging techniques - ranging from optical microscopes to scanning electron microscopes (SEM with FIB option), atomic force microscopes (AFM), and transmission electron microscopes (TEM) - can be used to visualize topographic and morphological structures at various scales down to molecular dimensions.

"Chemical processing" in the aviation industry according to Nadcap


In the field of aviation industry, special regulations and specifications exist with regard to the reliability, reproducibility and traceability of production processes and test procedures in order to meet safety requirements. In order to meet these requirements in a comparable manner, the central aviation companies, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, MTU and Rolls-Royce, have organized themselves since 1990 within the Nadcap program (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) and defined uniform regulations and standards.

Parts of the Fraunhofer IFAM laboratories are approved as independent testing laboratories according to the Nadcap system required by the aviation industry. In the scope of Chemical Processing (CP) the Nadcap accreditation applies to important test procedures for evaluation of coatings, e. g. cross-cut test according to DIN EN ISO ISO 2409 and salt spray test according to DIN EN ISO 9227. In the scope of non metallic materials testing (NMMT), Nadcap approval is granted for testing of Composites (CFRP) according to AITM 1-0053 (G1c procedure).

This means that Fraunhofer IFAM, as an independent laboratory, is able to carry out relevant tests in the field of the aviation industry in accordance with Nadcap and to certify this. Fraunhofer IFAM's customers can use the results obtained directly for the development of flying materials and coatings.

More about Nadcap recognition at Fraunhofer IFAM