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Roughness Measurement of Sliding Metal Surfaces using the Olympus OLS4100 Laser Confocal Microscope


Background

Friction in moving metal parts causes heat and accelerated wear. Friction is significantly affected by the roughness of the sliding surfaces. If the surfaces are very rough with large peaks and valleys, the parts will not move smoothly and could even get stuck. On the other hand, if there are no peaks and valleys on either surface, the lack of any roughness whatsoever may cause the sliding surfaces to fuse together. To achieve the desired level of smoothness between moving metal parts, just the right amount of surface roughness is required. To measure surface roughness, manufacturers typically use contact roughness testers that drag a stylus across metal surfaces. This method is limited by the thickness of the stylus and is not capable of making fine roughness measurements.

The Olympus solutions

The Olympus OLS4100 3D laser measuring microscope features a non-contact surface roughness tester that, unlike a stylus, gives you the ability to make planar measurements with a 10 nanometer resolution. This level of precision exceeds what is available with conventional contact surface testers and ensures that roughness measurements are as accurate as possible. Because the OLS4100 uses a laser to make the surface measurements, it can reach the bottom of tiny irregularities, including those with complex configurations and steep angles (Figure 1).

Features of the product

The OLS4100 makes 3D observations with ultra-high-resolution measurements and a high pixel density (Figure 2). The non-contact surface roughness measurement technology can measure fine irregularities that conventional contact measurers are unable to detect. The OLS4100 features high inclination sensitivity for making accurate measurements of complex and steep-sided irregularities.

A comparison of roughness measurements using a contact stylus (upper) versus the laser stylus of the OLS4100 (lower)

Figure 1: A comparison of roughness measurements using a contact stylus (upper) versus the laser stylus of the OLS4100 (lower)

Image

A 3D rendering of surface roughness produced by the OLS4100

Figure 2: A 3D rendering of surface roughness produced by the OLS4100

Olympus IMS

Products used for this application


LEXT OLS5000NEW

With the Olympus LEXT OLS5000 laser scanning confocal microscope, noncontact, nondestructive 3D observations and measurements are easy to produce. Simply by pushing the Start button, users can measure fine shapes at the submicron level. Ease of use is combined with leading-edge features to deliver an acquisition speed four times faster than our previous model. For customers with larger samples, LEXT long working distance objectives and an extended frame option allow the system to accommodate samples as large as 210 mm.
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