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Expansion of the force field in milli-newtons

Expansion of the force field in milli-newtons

02 October 2015
An interview with the head of development Dr. Jörg Mämpel at the TETRA GmbH in Ilmenau, Germany

TETRA GmbH: Dr. Jörg Mämpel is actively involved in the progress of the measuring system BASALT-N2. Due to the enhancement of the system for measurements in the range of milli-newtons, new applications could be developed. Jörg Mämpel is talking about the development and characteristics, the particular suitability for measurement of biopolymers and future prospects of BASALT N2.

1. What characterizes the BASALT-N2?

The product line BASALT represents material measuring systems with very high accuracy and quality. Depending on requirements, the system BASALT-N2 measures wear and friction of two materials, material profile or indentation forces under different conditions. Which includes normal force, velocity, temperature, humidity, motion or the use of lubricants. The system achieves high reproducibility in stable environmental conditions for working in the laboratory.

2. What is new at the measuring system?

The development of the milli-newton sensors, based on patented structures, is a substantial product extension: Now it is possible to measure in nominal ranges of 10 mN and 100mN (before: 1N, 10N, 100N and 200N). This is equivalent to the half of weight of a mosquito. The resolution in the lowest range is at down to sub-micronewton. The capacitive sensors could measure changes in position of about 5 nanometers. Also the crosstalk of BASALT-N2 is with 0,2% remarkably low and guarantees precisely results. Furthermore the deviation of the characteristic curve is only 0,08%.

3. What are the particularities of BASALT-N2?

The total system, which is based on the guideline VDI 2206 (Project Method of Mechanical Systems), is ideally suited for the use of high-resolution force sensors, since the system development is referring specifically to the decoupling of external environmental influences. More over the use of high precision sensors and flexible options, the BASALT N2 is configurable to individual wishes and requirements of customers. Furthermore, the measuring system is extremely user friendly. The system can be controlled with a usual computer and does not need a long admission. It is possible to connect external devices such as cameras, microscopes or microphones.

4. In which applications can the system be used?

The BASALT-N2 is ideal for measurements of friction and wear in ranges of 10 mN up to 200 N. Even small force ranges from the micro tribology and also the micro and nano ranges can be optimally examined. The BASALT-N2 is utilized in medical technology, for example in the measurement of friction in contact lenses or for examining the durability of prostheses. In the field of material research, the measuring system is utilized for checking micro-hardness. Also in automotive and electrical industries friction and wear measurements of plug contacts are relevant.

5. Why is basalt-N2 particularly useful in the characterization of polymers, which are used for the cultivation of living cells?

The BASALT N2 guarantees very high accuracy and reproducible results. The forces acting on the biopolymers must be very low, because of the resilience of viscoelasticity and dynamics. Due to this, the BASALT-N2 is particularly suitable. In addition, polymers absorb humidity very quickly, which can also be logged with the temperature.

6. How do you see the future prospect for the measuring system?

The focus of the work at TETRA GmbH focuses on the enhancement of BASALTN2, which is permanently developed to include additional modules. This is also due to the extensibility of the platform and integration, for example through dispensers in the dosing of liquids.

The company TETRA GmbH developes, manufactures and distributes systems and components of sensors, robotics and automation. The product portfolio ranges from highly specialized test and production systems for micro and nano technology to lightweight robotic systems for automation of sensitive production and service processes

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