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Physical Structure Characterisation Facility

We offer the ability to determine a large range of the physical properties of materials using a range of cutting-edge technologies.

X-Ray Diffraction

We have a range of equipment and technical experts to help you gain valuable insight into the arrangement of atoms in crystalline materials.

Thermal properties and polymer characterisation​

We offer services and techniques for thermal analysis in which the relationship between a sample property and temperature is studied.

Sorption properties

Our Autosorb-iQ-C by Quantachrome Anton Paar determines the surface area, the pore size distribution and the surface activity of solids, in both physisorption and chemisorption modes.​

Particle analysis

We have three different particle analysis instruments each with their own measurable particle size range capabilities. These are the Nanosight, Zetasizer and Mastersizer. They use Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) to determine particle size distribution and concentration accurately. We offer wet analysis of samples dispersed in solution.​

  • Nanoparticle characterisation – 10nm – 1000nm [Nanosight NS300]​
  • Zeta Potential analysis – 3.8nm – 100um [Zetasizer Ultra]​
  • Particle Size & Concentration – 0.3nm – 10um [Zetasizer Ultra]​
  • Particle Size Distribution – 0.01um – 3mm [Mastersizer 3000]​
  • Pycnometer [AccuPyc 1330]
Close up on a female researcher looking closely at something.

Mercury Intrusion Porosity

To accurately determine the use of a material, it is important to know its porosity: that is, the pore size, pore volume, pore size distribution and density.

Mercury will not spontaneously penetrate pores by capillary action but has to be forced into the pores by externally applied pressure. The Mercury Intrusion Porosimeter uses this non-wetting property of mercury on most substances. Because the size of a substance's pores directly relates to the pressure the Mercury Intrusion Porosimeter needs to apply to achieve penetration, the instrument can calculate the pore size distribution and volume of a material from the pressure versus intrusion data generated. This data is generated using the Micromeritics (Autopore V) instrument. Tests are performed with a sample of up to 2g, depending on the material's pore volume. Samples can be in the form of a powder or, ideally, as one big piece.​

A single pore in ceramic as seen through an electron microscope.

About us

We offer users the ability to determine a broad range of the physical properties of materials using a range of cutting-edge technologies. Among other services, we can determine sorption and thermal properties, and characterise the atomic and molecular structures of new materials.

The Physical Structure Characterisation Facility is part of the Research Infrastructure and Facilities department.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the Physical Structure Characterisation Facility please get in touch.