CNSI adds new capabilities to probe the mechanical properties of materials

Introducing UCLA’s sole shared rheometry resource, at the Nano and Pico Characterization Laboratory

(Image courtesy: Anton Paar)

Understanding how materials change shape in response to force is fundamental to a range of investigations across the fields of engineering, physical and biological sciences. To that end, a newly added rheometer at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA will enable researchers to analyze viscosity, shear stress , viscoelasticity and other related properties of liquids, solids  and everything in between.

An Anton Paar Modular Compact Rheometer 302 (MCR 302) has been recently validated and added to the resources at the Nano and Pico Characterization Laboratory, one of six open-access CNSI Technology Centers. The MCR 302 is available to researchers from UCLA, other academic institutions and industry. Currently, the instrument is the only rheometer available for shared use on campus.

With the MCR 302, scientists and engineers can measure the characteristic properties of fluids, semi-solids and solids. The possibilities range from everyday items — such as engine oil, honey and shampoo — to medical devices, biomaterials, polymers, hydrogels, investigational drugs and materials for aerospace.

“With the addition of the Anton Parr MCR 302 Rheometer, NPC Lab users will be able to measure rheological properties of materials ranging from viscous fluids to deformable solids, including nanoparticle suspensions, polymers  and colloidal materials,” said Michael Lake, BioPACIFIC technical director and staff scientist at NPC lab.  This new capability expands the available toolkit for mechanical analysis in the CNSI Technology Centers beyond atomic force microscope–based measurements , which have served as a signature offering of the NPC Lab for over 15 years.

The instrument’s capabilities include flow, rotational and oscillatory testing, with sweeping amplitude or frequency at different temperatures. The MCR 302 also has  a system ensuring that the lower plate reaches the set temperature before a sample is tested, and provides the ability to adjust the gap in the middle of measurement to compensate for heat causing the sample and the instrument’s cone to expand or shrink.

For consultation, proof-of-concept, training and other assistance, please contact the NPC team via e-mail at npc@cnsi.ucla.edu.