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SBIR Phase I: Novel Surface Free Energy Sensor

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
5129 Kieley Pl CINCINNATI, OH 45217-1112
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: SBIR Phase I: Novel Surface Free Energy Sensor
Agency: NSF
Contract: 1315276
Award Amount: $149,246.00


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a realtime surface energy sensor that can be integrated into existing surface treatment systems to provide process control feedback. This sensor is based on a rapid microwetting measurement that is exceptionally responsive to surface free energy. Wetting measurements are a standard technique for determining surface free energies, but are slow and unwieldy to perform. The proposed approach involves ballistic deposition of a minute quantity of a probe fluid onto the surface. The vibration that accompanies deposition greatly facilitates attainment of equilibrium wetting of the surface. An image of the droplet is analyzed to determine the angle formed by the droplet tangent and the surface from drop volume and average diameter, which is a known function of the surface free energy. The equipment to accomplish this task can be readily integrated into existing robotically deployed surface treatment devices. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to improve quality and yield of manufactured products through rapid, automated, and quantitative control of surface treatment properties. It will allow quantitative surface energy measurements, used for decades in laboratory settings, to transition into automated manufacturing control environments. Scientific and technological understanding will be enhanced by a deeper understanding of the effect of various surface treatment processes on extent and uniformity of surface energy and of the relationship of these properties to adhesion. This project will allow for more efficient, higher yield manufacturing processes that will increase the competitiveness of our domestic manufacturing. The initial market for this technology will include automotive OEM?s and their Tier suppliers, medical device manufacturers and manufacturers of consumer and industrial electronics, and food packaging.

Principal Investigator:

Giles Dillingham

Business Contact:

Giles Dillingham
Small Business Information at Submission:

5129 Kieley Pl CINCINNATI, OH 45217-1112

EIN/Tax ID: 311452707
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No