Measuring coating thickness and composition

A coating is a covering applied to a surface of a substrate with decorative, functional or both purposes.

Coatings change the properties of the surface to increase the resistance against aggressive substances, to make the surface adhesive or non-adhesive, to change the wettability of the surface or to add a new property to the material, like magnetic response, thermal insulation, electrical conductivity or light reflection. A multi-layer can be applied to a material for additional properties.

Also, the thickness of the coating is important for the property. Specifically, the thickness can be controlled during the coating process or after a period of usage and the range of coatings thickness can be different as a function of its purpose.

Olympus Vanta™ XRF technologies can analyze layers of coating with a thickness of between 10 nm and 50 µm and up to three layers on one substrate. The Vanta analyzer’s portability means that it can be used on-site with instant results on small and large objects. Thanks to its easy calibration and user-friendly design, you can maintain the highest quality standards in a cost-effective manner in less than 10 seconds.

The coating method can be applied in several industries such as plant infrastructure and architecture, aerospace, electronics, tools and automotive industry. For instance, the latter concerns the car parts manufacturing process, in which the material quality must be ensured. To maintain quality standards, certain aspects must be considered, such as corrosion protection, ensuring conductivity, and improving optical design properties. To help ensure the cost-effectiveness, components are coated with a range of different materials.

The current Vanta coating application is a single energy method and defined for coatings mainly made with the following elements: Ti, V, Mn, Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Zr, Nb, Mo, Pd, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Hf, Ta, W, Re, Au, Pb and Bi. For lighter elements like Al, Si or P a specific coating method can be setted up for this application.

The measure of coating thickness and composition at the same time are allowed by two different methods logged on the instrument: the Coating Method and the AlloyPlus Method. Also, the composition of the substrate and the layer structure affect the analysis result. Thus, it is necessary to create for every combination a specific coating model to achieve the best performance.

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