In addition to in-house formulation and coating services, Salvo Coatings is proud to offer many in-house testing services. The testing services include standard environmental services, as well as specialized explorative testing. By utilizing a full test lab in Korea, as well as partnering with local universities, Salvo Coatings has created a full testing service that boasts quick turnaround and impartial results. The methodology and processes are statistically based, providing useful data that can be compared allowing for statistical conclusions to be drawn.

Bresle Method
The Bresle Method is used to determine the concentration of salts on substrate surfaces to be coated. By measuring the difference in conductivity of dissolved solids from the surface, a total concentration can be extrapolated. The salts can cause systemic problems including poor adhesion. Proper surface preparation and analysis are strong convictions at Salvo Coatings as most problems can be traced to poor surface preparation.

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Salt-Spray Test
Salt-Spray Testing is routinely performed to check for corrosion resistance. In general, the test is nothing more than an accelerated corrosion test that attempts to attack the coated samples in order to predict long-term usage in the field. It is Salvo's philosophy that salt spray is a great initial test, but the results have to be taken with a grain of salt. There is really no way to predict corrosion as it is a very complex process. It is not uncommon to see parts pass in the lab and fail in the field, and vice versa.

The testing process is relatively simple; a closed testing chamber has a salt solution sprayed into it. Salvo Coatings uses neutral salt spray (NSS testing), acetic acid salt spray (AASS testing) and acetic acid with copper chloride (CASS testing). This testing method is performed in our Korean plant, and complies with the international standards including ASTM B 117 and ISO 9227.
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Scanning Electron Microscope
Salvo Coatings also has access to many types of testing equipment through a program with USF. By certifying and training our engineers on equipment like the SEM described below, Salvo can standardize testing and quickly build an internal database for problem solving that you cannot get when you outsource the testing to a lab.

The scanning electron microscope or SEM scans a high-energy beam of electrons over a sample. An electron gun creates the electron beam with energy up to about 40 keV. The condensing lenses can focus the beam to a size ranging from .5nm to 5nm in diameter. When the beam strikes the sample, random scattering and absorption occur in a classic teardrop-shaped spot, penetrating a few microns into the substrate. The SEM magnification is typically 25x to 250,000x and the SEM can resolve surface features that are about 5nm in size. In addition, an SEM can also be used to determine what elements are present in a sample in a qualitative measure.

Typical uses of SEM are to observe adhesion failures, surface preparation, coating structures and substrate structures, as well as analyze defects in coatings.
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Transmission Electron Microscopy
Transmission Electron Microscopy is similar to SEM but instead of observing the reflection or absorption of the electrons, the microscope will use a very thin sample and view the transmitted electrons after passing through that sample. The image is then projected onto a screen.

The TEM is used for material analysis though sample preparation is difficult and can lead to problems. Salvo uses an ion milling approach to create the less than 500nm thick samples. These samples are typically able to withstand the vacuum used in the setup but can be enhanced if necessary.
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Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy
Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, or LIBS, is a destructive test used as an elemental analysis tool. In the LIBS process a sample is ablated by a laser and a plasma is formed. Typically a Nd:Yag laser is used to create the plasma, and the plasma can be enhanced with a microwave if higher resolution is needed. Contaminants in the parts-per-billion levels can be detected under most circumstances.

A very intense pulse laser beam is focused on the sample, which creates a plasma. As the plasma cools each element in the sample emits light or emission lines of visible light. The light is imaged onto a spectrometer bench which matches up the emission lines to those saved on a database containing all of the elements. The sample preparation is simple and gases, liquids or solids can be analyzed. This qualitative tool can identify contaminants in a process and coating samples.
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Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-Mass Spec) uses the gas chromatograph and the mass spectrometer to identify different molecules or elements within a sample. The gas chromatograph uses capillary columns to separate the molecules as they travel and the mass spectrometer will ionize, accelerate, deflect and detect the molecules separately.

The GC-Mass Spec is useful for determining solution make ups, testing for and identifying contaminants, and monitoring process conditions during pilot and startup phase. Often times samples are taken at various intervals and tested to make sure the process inputs and outputs are in control.
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