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Both Quality Assurance and Research & Development departments are incredibly important at Glassflake. Our QA processes are required to ensure that the glassflake that we are manufacturing meets our tight specifications. Our R&D team are crucial in developing new materials and processes to effectively meet customer requirements. Having a well equipped laboratory, with an extensive suite of analytical equipment is vital to these functions.
At the forefront of these improvements has been Glassflake’s QA & Regulatory Manager, Sarah Ross. “Quality assurance of our glassflake materials is a core competency at Glassflake,” says Sarah. “This ensures our customers have the highest confidence in the products we are supplying. Investment in this new lab has been critical to give us greater capacity for testing, as well as allowing us to examine every facet of glassflake in greater detail.”
The Glassflake laboratory investment has been directed into upgrades to existing equipment, to make current QA processes more accurate and faster. We have added an additional SEM to our arsenal for measurement of flake thicknesses, as well as checking for planarity of the flake. A second, custom built thickness analyser has also been added to our lab – particularly used for measuring a high number of flakes with low thickness. To cover all dimensions of the flake, we have brought in an additional Mastersizer to measure flake diameters. This newer machine now offers both dry and wet dispersion detection.
The composition, as well as the dimensions of the glassflake are also important. For bulk measurement of glass composition, a new XRF has been purchased to give confidence that the glass remains constant and is suitable for the prescribed applications. Given some of the application areas for glassflake, heavy metal content of the glass is crucial. To carry out this testing, a suite of preparation equipment has been brought in, alongside an ICP-OES for measurement of the heavy metal content in dissolved samples.
Research & Development
The new lab serves a Research and Development purpose, beyond our day to day QA testing. Glassflake’s R&D team of chemists and engineers rely on XRF analysis to understand developmental glass formulations as they seek to tailor products such as low melt phosphate glasses. Also of key importance is a high power SEM, ideal for examining flake dispersion and alignment in many customer produced composites and coating films.