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Washington State University W. M. Keck Biomedical Materials Research Lab


Rapid Prototyping Facilities

Location: ETRL 146

3D Printer for Ceramics

The ExOne (Ex One Company, Irwin, PA) three-dimensional (3D) printer creates 3D ceramic objects by selectively applying a liquid binder to a loose powder. In this printer, components are built up layer by layer in an iterative process. First, a layer of powder is spread. Then a printhead with binder jets is moved across the powder under computer control to selectively bind the powder together where positive geometric features are desired. The part is lowered, and a new layer of powder is spread over the top. The process is then repeated until the entire geometry is complete. This temporarily builds the part until it can be dried and sintered to the specific density.



Powder Characterization

Location: ETRL 142

TRISTAR 3000 BET Surface Analyzer

Micromeretics Inc. Our BET surface area measurement unit measures surface area of nanoparticles as well as micron sized particles using nitrogen adsorption technique. Pressure can vary between 0 to 999 mmHg range.

Particle Size Analyzer

This DLS system with an APD detector is capable of measuring size and size distribution of nano-particles between 1 nm to 5 mm. Suspension of particles in both aqueous and organic medium can be measured.

Thermal Analysis

Location: ETRL 146

NETZSCH Inc. Thermal Analyzer (STA 409PC)

This combined DSC-DTA-TGA system can run up to 1550o C under different atmospheres including static, dynamic oxidizing, inert and reducing atmosphere with a maximum heating rate of 50 oC/min. Depending on the material system, we can use either Pt or alumina crucibles for testing.


Nano Flash for Thermal Diffusivity Measurements

The NETZSCH LFA 447 NanoFlash® is based on the well-known flash method. In this method, the front side of a plane-parallel sample is heated by a short light pulse. The resulting temperature rise on the rear surface is measured using an infrared detector. By analysis of the resulting temperature versus- time curve, the thermal diffusivity of various materials can be determined within 0.01 to 1000 mm2/s (thermal conductivities between 0.1 to 2000 W/m.K). It can complete tests on dozens of samples at room temperature in a single morning or, make measurements at temperatures up to 300 °C automatically. A 32 bit Windows® software package, combines easy handling and complex evaluation routines, thus offering a solution to almost every problem. More than 15 different evaluation models are available.

Viscosity Analysis

Location: ETRL 142

Haake Polylab Inc. Torque Rheometer and Single Screw Extruder

Our HAAKE polylab compounding and single screw extruder system is capable of high shear mixing of polymers and polymer-ceramic composites for different applications. We also have tape and cylindrical dies for high temperature extrusion up to 400 C.

Ceramic Processing

Location: ETRL 142

Thermolyte Inc. High Temperature Furnace (46100, 48000)

Our high temperature muffle furnaces can go up to 1700 C. It has a 6″ X 6″ X 6″ inner volume with 6 MoSi2 heating elements.

US Stoneware Inc. Ball Mill

Autoclave Engineers Inc. Cold Isostatic Press (32260)

CIP is used in ceramic processing to increase green density of ceramic parts. This machine can go upto 60,000 psi pressure.

Microwave Sintering

Location: ETRL 136

3 KW Automatic Control, Control Environment Microwave Furnace

Mechanical Characterization

Table Top Universal Testing Machine

The lab is equipped with Shimadzu’s AG-IS Autograph ® (Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Columbia, MD) table-top universal material testing system having 50 kN capacity. The machine is capable of testing various materials in tension, compression and bending. The TRAPEZIUM-X software enables to control various test parameters and even low cycle dynamic testing. Data processing in the software is very simple enabling direct calculation of desired mechanical properties such as tensile strength, yield strength, Young’s modulus etc. from the test results.

Hardess Tester

Shimadzu’s HMV-2T series microhardness tester (Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Columbia, MD) has automatic load change function with 9 different load to select from. The tested is equipped with Vicker’s diamond pyramid indenter. The automatic operation eliminates operation errors and provides outstanding safety. The superior user interface with LCD touch panel makes the operation simple and easy.


NANOVEA wear testing equipment (Microphotonics Inc., CA, USA) contains accessories to carry out the test in controlled atmosphere such as physiological/lubricating fluids with precise temperature and humidity control. The instrument also has the capability to test the materials for their wear resistance in linear reciprocating and rotating mode with ball-on-disc or pin-on-disc configuration. The software enables independent selection of various test parameters such as load, speed, distance, temperature, etc.



Thermo, Nicolet 6700 FTIR Spectrometer

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), is a analysis technique that provides information about the chemical bonding or molecular structure of materials, whether organic or inorganic. Unlike SEM inspection or EDX analysis, FTIR spectroscopy does not require a vacuum, since neither oxygen nor nitrogen absorb infrared rays. FTIR analysis can be applied to minute quantities of materials, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous. When the library of FTIR spectral patterns does not provide an acceptable match, individual peaks in the FTIR plot may be used to yield partial information about the specimen.




VCA Optima, AST Products Inc.

The static contact angles of sessile drops of liquids on polished samples can be measured using a face contact angle set-up equipped with a camera. The contact angle data is used for surface properties analysis such as wettability, surface energy, surface tension etc.

In Vitro Cell Culture

Baker SterilGARD III Advance Biosafety Cabinet

Cell culture hood is a carefully enclosed bench designed to prevent contamination of biological samples. The cabinet is equipped with laminar air flow system along with a UV germicidal lamp to sterilize chamber when not in use.



Tissue Culture Inverted Microscope, Accu-Scope Inc., Series 3300

The inverted tissue culture microscope is used for biological applications such as to view tissue culture specimens grown in flask.

Microplate Reader, Cambridge Technology, Series 700

Microplate Readers is used to detect biological, chemical or physical events of samples in microtiter plates. The microplate used is 96-well (8 by 12 matrix) with a typical reaction volume between 100 and 200 µL/well. Absorbance detection is used for assays such as protein and enzyme activity assays (i.e. in the MTT assay for cell viability). A light source of specific wavelength (selected by an optical filter, or a monochromator), illuminates the sample and the light transmitted through the sample is measured by a detector located on the other side of the well measures. The amount of transmitted light will typically be related to the concentration of the molecule of interest.



NuAIR 8700 Dual chamber CO2 Incubator

A CO2 incubator is an apparatus used to grow and culture the cells. These incubators work to control three essential variables related to replicating the mammalian environment; stable CO2 level, temperature, and relative humidity (RH).

Elemental Characterization

Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) Shimadzu AA-6800

Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is one of the commonest instrumental methods for analyzing for metals and some metalloids. AAS uses the absorption of light to measure the concentration of gas-phase atoms. Each metal has a characteristic wavelength that will be absorbed. The sample of interest is aspirated into the flame and the metal atoms absorb some of the light, thus reducing its intensity. The analyte concentration is determined from the amount of absorption.