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Analytical Techniques
Particle Contamination Identification
SEM Principle and Instruments
Particle Contamination Identification
Pharmaceutical Particle Counting
Particle Identification Methodology
Metallographic Preparation
Optical Microscopy and Image Analysis
Paint, Adhesive, Sealant and Gasket Filler Fingerprinting

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Particle contamination is problematic for many industries, they can appear unexpectedly mixed in solids, liquids and gases. Isolating then characterising and understanding the types of particles found in products or processes can usually yield a likely source for the particles. Once the source is known then elimination of the particulate contamination becomes substantially easier.

At LPD Lab Services we have extensive experience in identifying and characterising particulate contamination both from our own manufacturing on-site and performing this type of work for external customers.

Particles can have many sources e.g. metals, biological (skin, hair etc), polymers, building dusts etc and all have characteristic properties such as shape, size and chemistry which assist in identification. SEM / EDX coupled with optical microscopy provides a powerful tool for unambiguously identifying such particles. The technique is frequently coupled with FTIR and perhaps GC-MS when identifying the source of organic contamination.

We can perform this work on virtually any sample types including:

  • Liquid samples – suspended particles, sediment, residues, contaminants and precipitates 
  • Filters / membranes
  • Product surfaces
  • Buried within prodcut materials.

Examples are shown below of particulate identification work:

Graphitised Pollen GrainThe image shows a particle on the surface of a metal grid on an electron gun from a cathode ray tube. The gun had failed for an insulation leakage between adjacent gun lenses and during dismantling of the gun, a few fine particles were seen in the gap between these grids.

A particle was analysed in the SEM and this showed it to contain mainly carbon, with small amounts of oxygen and sulphur.

From the analysis and appearance of the particle, it was identified as either soot or a charred pollen grain. Speaking to the customer, it transpired that the gun had been dried in an oven at 140 °C after a washing process. The solution to the problem was to fit a filter to the fan system to prevent ingress of airborne contamination during drying.

Oxidised Steel Particles from Tank and EDX Chemical Analysis

Oxidised Steel Particles Found in Chemical Tank together with EDX analysis showing chemical information. The particles were identified as rust from defective pipework.

Please contact us today to discuss your particle characterisation needs in detail.

Application Notes
Document Title View
Identification of the type and source of particulate contamination in a ceramic component using SEM/EDX.
Pharmaceutical Particle Counting, Size Measurement and Chemical Analysis by SEM/EDX
Contaminant Particle Identification and Elimination
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