Equipment and Capabilities

Expert analysis, testing and consultancy is provided by a dedicated team of scientists, who have expertise in glass manufacture, processing, material sciences, chemistry, physics and engineering disciplines and together hold over 380 years collective glass experience. In addition to our standard range of services, we also provide a range of bespoke services including in-house test methods, the creation of custom client-specific methods, analytical programs and calibration standards, metal whisker analysis and the provision of other bespoke analyses on request.

A range of analytical techniques and equipment are employed depending on the task, including:

  • Wavelength Dispersive X-Ray Spectrometry (XRF)
    The X-Ray Fluorescent Spectrometer (XRF) allows for elemental compositional analysis of inorganic materials.

    We have an onsite method development specialist which enables us to create specific calibration methods for specific material types using X-Ray Fluorescent Spectrometry.

    Unknown dust analysis can be carried out utilising the instruments in build synthetic calibrations which enables the equipment to scan for almost all elements above oxygen on the periodic table.
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (SEM-EDX)
    An SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) is a microscope, which uses a beam of electrons to achieve magnifications much higher than is possible using light (up to 100,000x).

    A backscatter electron detector is used which shows differences in composition by difference in contrast. In addition, the SEM is fitted with an energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) which allows pinpoint elemental analysis down to a few microns. The SEM is used at Glass Technology Services for a range of qualitative analyses including material identification, defect analysis and contamination analysis.
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES)
    Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) is used to determine the concentration of trace elements in solution. This is a quantitative technique and it is possible to see results at concentrations of parts per billion. The instrument is used internally for a range of applications from the direct analysis of solution to the analysis of dissolved samples in solution with a number of methods under our ISO/IEC 17025:2005 UKAS accreditation.
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Glass Refractive Index Measurement (GRIM3)
    The GRIM3 is a 3rd generation Glass Refractive Index Measurement system from Foster + Freeman. The system allows measurement of the refractive index (RI) of glass fragments using the oil-immersion method. This system is widely used in the field of Forensic Science and is of particular use for the comparative analysis of multiple samples. For example, microscopic fragments can be compared with glass from a suspected source item in order to confirm whether the fragments could have originated from the source item.
  • UV/Vis Spectrophotometry, including near-IR
    Our Shimadzu UV3600 Ultraviolet/Visible Near Infra-Red spectrophotometry (UV/Vis-NIR) coupled with an Integrating Sphere allows the measurement of the transmittance and reflectance properties of both solids and liquids across the a range of 185nm to 3300nm.

    These measurements allow the optical properties of glasses, including; transmittance, reflectance, solar factor and colour, to be determined for the purposes of performance classification of glass for architectural applications and quality control on domestic and container glassware.
  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
    Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is used to simulate various conditions that glassware might undergo during use.

    Across varied fields such as internal pressures within bottles, impacts to a wine glass rim, interactions between glass and non-glass components or cantilever forces on a glass staircase, FEA can be a useful tool in determining whether a design is fit-for-purpose before manufacture has begun.

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