top of page

Contract Testing Services

ASM Services offer a comprehensive materials testing service with a wide range of techniques available. Most measurements are performed by Nick Hawkins who has many years experience with a range of Analytical techniques that include DSC, Modulated Temperature DSC, TGA, DMA, TMA, Rheology, Diffusing Wave Spectroscopy, Microscopy and Mechanical testing.

Our approach to consultancy work/contract measurement and pricing guidelines.

  • An initial discussion by phone/e mail or in person (strongly recommended) to identify the type of measurements required.

  • A sample is supplied for a feasibility study and to develop suitable methodology (Free of Charge).

  • A quotation will then be provided based on instrument time required and number of samples to be measured. Typically it will cost £90 per hour instrument time and there will be a fixed cost to cover instrument calibration, report writing & data analysis which will depend on the number of samples measured (£200-£300).

  • We can follow Standard Test Methods for material characterisation (DIN, ASTM, ISO).

The techniques we have available, their common application areas and the available specifications are given below:

Diffusing Wave Spectroscopy (DWS)

DWS Rheolab.png

Measurement confines

  • Frequency range        10-2Hz - 10+7 Hz

  • Temperature range:   +4C to +100C

  • Measurement time:     60-90 Seconds

  • Sample Volume:         400ul - 2ml

What DWS can measure

  • G', G" Tan Delta of liquids/soft matter

  • Viscosity/shear flow properties

  • Gelation/cross-linking/coagulation

  • Time/temperature studies over hours, days, weeks, months..... (Samples prepared in sealed cuvette-ideal for stability monitoring).

  • Particle sizing (upto 1um diameter)

Ideal for measuring high and low frequency response of liquids and soft matter, tracking hydrogel formation, long term stability, emulsion stability (Ostwald ripening).

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) & Modulated Temperature DSC

Picture1DSC PET.jpg
Q2000 DSC Images.png

Amorphous PET Heated to show Tg, cold crystallisation and melting

Measurement confines

  • Temperature range: -90 to +400C

  • Heating rate: 0.01 - 150C/Minute.

  • Cooling rate: 0.01 - 70C/Minute.

  • Purge gas: Nitrogen/Air/Oxygen/Helium
  • Pan type: Crimped or Hermetically sealed Aluminium/Large volume Stainless steel.

What DSC & MT-DSC can measure

  • Glass transition (Tg), melting, re-crystallisation, cross-linking, thermal & oxidative stability, heat capacity, polymorphism, denaturation, solid-solid transitions, oxidative and thermal stability.

DSC and MT-DSC are used to characterise most material classes including thermoplastics, elastomers, thermosets, biological, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, inorganics, foodstuffs oils, waxes and fuels.

Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)

TGA Example.png
Q500 TGA Image.png

Thermal decomposition of PTFE at different heating rates

Measurement confines

  • Temperature range: Ambient to 1'000C

  • Heating rate: 0.01 - 100C/Minute.

  • Sample Mass: Up to 1g

  • Purge gas: Nitrogen/Air/Oxygen/Helium & Reactive.

  • Pan type: Platinum, Aluminium & Ceramic

What TGA can measure

  • Free and bound moisture and solvent content, Thermal and oxidative decomposition temperature, filler content, polymer content, volume fraction, ash content, combustion temperature, OIT, Thermal stability.

TGA is used to characterise most material classes including thermoplastics, elastomers, thermosets, inorganics, composites, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants & catalysts.

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)

dma pet.png
Q800 DMA Image.jpg

PET Film: Frequency dependence of Glass Transition

Measurement confines

  • Temperature range: -150 to +600C

  • Heating rate: 0.01 - 20C/Minute.

  • Purge gas: Nitrogen/Air/Argon

  • Frequency range: 0.01 to 200 Hz
  • Force range: 0.001 - 18 Newtons
  • Displacement range: 25 mm
  • Displacement resolution: 1nm

What DMA can measure

  • Measurements performed using single/dual cantilever, 3 point bend, compression, tension film & fibre, shear sandwich, submersion & powder clamps.

Used to identify viscoelastic properties of most material types (E', E", Tan Delta). Also allows measurement of crosslinking, Tg, creep, stress relaxation, linear viscoelastic region (LVR), TTS to predict long term/high & low rate performance and damping properties. 


Elastomer Frequency Sweep.png

Frequency Sweep of silicone elastomer using parallel plate measuring system

Measurement confines

  • Temperature range: -150 to +600C

  • Heating rate: 0.01 - 20C/Minute.

  • Frequency range: 0.001 to 100 Hz

  • Normal force range: 0 to 50 Newtons
  • Geometry sizes: 8, 25, 50 & 75 mm Diameter (Cone & Plate & Parallel Plate).
  • Double Concentric Cylinder available for Low viscosity systems (down to 1 mPa.s).

What Rheology can measure

  • LVR of low viscosity systems to soft matter.

  • Shear rate dependance of viscosity (Newtonian, shear thinning & thickening).

  • Frequency dependence of Viscoelastic properties (G', G" & Tan Delta).

  • Gelation, sol-gel reactions, cross-linking.

  • Creep and stress/relaxation properties.

Widely used  to characterise Flow & viscoelastic properties of liquids and soft matter.

Imaging and Mechanical testing

Environmental SEM


Carl Zeiss Evo LS-15

  • SE, BSE, VPSE,EPSE imaging

  • EDX Analysis and mapping

  • EBSD-Orientation mapping

  • T range -50 to +1000 C

  • In-situ mechanical testing

3D Optcal Profilometry


Alicona Infinite Focus 3d

  • 5, 10, 20, 50, 100X Mag

  • Profile and 3D Form

  • Profile/Surface Roughness

  • 2D Measurements

  • Automation

Mechanical Testing - Instron MaterialsTester

  • Bending, Compression & Tensile configurations

  • Range of Load Cells and fixtures

  • Temperature control: -100 to +350C

  • Digital Image Correlation Analysis (DIC) See Below

DIC Analysis.PNG

Working in Partnership with LIMA at the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford University

Lima Logo.PNG

Laboratory for In-Situ Microscopy and Analysis

bottom of page