Dr Nicola Symonds

Unit Head


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Surface Metrology

Quantifying roughness of samples

nC² staff normally have full access to the state-of-the-art surface metrology equipment housed at the University of Southampton.

We use our metrology equipment to quantify the finish and form of surfaces provided by our clients.  This could be

  • a measurement before and after a wear test or

  • as a confirmation of build during a failure investigation.

As explained in the video below, this access is currently limited; further information about what work is currently taking place can be found on our COVID-19 page.

Please get in touch with us so we can explain how accurate metrology can provide valuable information about your product.

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2 min video about surface metrology by Dr Nicola Symonds

  • Did you know, we can use surface metrology equipment to accurately measure volume loss after wear testing?

2D surface profilometry

In addition to the miniature Surtronic S125 shown in the video above, we also have a Form Talysurf Intra Touch, which is a semi-portable system for quickly measuring surface finish and form.  It also uses a contacting stylus: we have a range of these, including ones to look down bores.

This system is commonly used to measure surface roughness parameters of samples before we begin any wear or friction tests.

2D surface profilometry using the Intra Touch

3D surface profilometry

  • PROSCAN 2100

    We now have a brand new PROSCAN 2100 profilometer, which is a non-contacting optical system from Scantron Ltd.  

  • Flexibility

    We have several precision scanning heads which give us flexibility to measure surfaces with depressions up to 1400um deep.

  • Powerful software

    The software allows us to completely control the movement of both the sample stage and the scanning head.

  • Volume mapping

    After wear tests, the system allows us to very quickly map a surface and measure the missing volume.

Texture mapping

The Alicona InfiniteFocus 3D mapping system, is a digital microscope with the capability not only to build up a layered image from many ‘slices’, but also to measure contours and surface roughness.

This machine is particularly useful to image and map rough textures such as fracture surfaces, and is a tool we often use when investigating component failures for our clients.

3D texture mapping with Alicona