Construction materials analysis & Whoooop! Über Gravitationswellen!
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Construction Materials Analysis
Is there lead in your paint? Is there asbestos in that paneling product? Where has that dust come from on my window sill? Why is that 6 month old render falling off my wall?
With quick and easy tests, we can tell you the composition of your paint, either in situ or from a scraped flake; we can see if there’s hazardous fibres embedded in that linoleum or wall cladding; if there’s a manufacturing plant upwind, we can analyse the dust and prove where it most likely came from; we can determine if there’s been too much lime/gypsum/sand mixed in the plaster/render that’s cracking or disbonding.
Our portable XRF can answer many of these questions quickly on site and anything more complex can be bagged and taken back to our laboratory for immediate analysis.
X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) uses generated X-rays to excite the atoms in a material and cause them to re-emit the energy as radiation with an energy characteristic of the elemental properties of the atom. By using this technique on a bulk material, we can build a picture of the elemental composition, and by implication, the possible compounds the material contains.
The same technique can quickly grade metals and tell you whether you have plain steel, 304 or 316 stainless steel in that fragment you just found in your filter, assisting with the identification of failed components. An electron microscopy analysis can identify wear patterns and provide additional information as to the failure mechanism.
For more information on this technique contact one of our Analytical Scientists or +61 894724880

Whoooop! Über Gravitationswellen! (On Gravitational Waves)

A computer simulation showing gravitational waves during a black-hole collision. 
Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib
“For this binary black hole system, it made a distinctive, rising ‘whoooop!’ sound.” Matthew Evans, physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the frequency of the ‘chirps’ emitted by the black holes merging.
In 1916, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in his paper ‘Näherungsweise Integration der Feldgleichungen der Gravitation’. This was built on in the much more catchily named ‘Über Gravitationswellen’ in 1918, which described a formula expressing the energy of gravitational waves. The existence of gravitational waves was an integral part of his theory of relativity. Diverging from Newtonian physics, Einstein described these waves as ripples in space time caused by cataclysmic events (paraphrased from a fairly questionable translation from the original German).
Evidence of the existence of gravitational waves was previously found by astronomers Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor in 1974. Earning them a Nobel Prize in 1993, the pair observed two pulsars exhibiting interesting behavior, losing energy and spiralling towards one another.  Modelling the energy loss using Einstein’s equations of general relativity, they concluded that the energy loss was emitted as gravitational waves. Though this indicated the efficacy of the formula, this only indirectly indicated the existence of the waves.   
On the 11th of February 2016 it was announced that, on the 14th of September the previous year, the recently upgraded Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) detected the gravitational waves produced by the collision of two black holes nearly 1.3 bn light years away. For the first time, direct observation supported the theory. Similar to light and other electromagnetic waves, gravitational waves exhibit red and blue shift which can give us information about the origin of the waves.
With the data collected and the maps we can form using gravitational wave detection, we can start to build a more complete picture of our universe and its history. We might even finally determine the initial conditions of time and space.
It only took 100 years, but we have now directly observed one of the fundamental properties of the universe predicted by the theory of relativity.
If you’re interested in the giant and very exciting interferometer used to detect the waves, check out
Nimue Pendragon
The Starlight Children’s Foundation has been brightening the lives of seriously ill children since 1988 through their many wonderfully unique programs. This month the Microanalysis crew wish to support them in the awesome job they do by running a fundraiser. We will be auctioning off a select number of unique, block mounted, one of a kind SEM images.
Keep an eye out on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages for more information.

Image Of The Month
This month’s image is of barite and salt crystals from seawater. Image take using the SEM with false colour added.

Like what you see? Check out our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.  If you have an idea for an image let us know on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Image taken by Judi Williams
Copyright © 2016 Microanalysis Australia Pty Ltd, All rights reserved.

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