In 2017, over 600,000 students received post-secondary degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) fields in the United States. The majority of those students spent hours each semester in university laboratories. For many of them, micro-abrasive blasting provided the precision and power needed to build complex models and conduct experiments.
In one lab, for instance, electrical engineering students design microprocessors. In another, mechanical engineering students experiment with advanced piston and turbine engines to study energy transformation and develop cleaner and more efficient transportation. And in a third lab, graduate students in aerospace engineering develop satellites for experiments in space.
Students preparing for careers in electronics, industrial design, aerospace and other STEM careers quickly come to understand the versatility of micro-abrasive blasting for surface preparation, precise cutting and processing of fragile components. Depending on the abrasive powder and blasting nozzles used, the abrasive blaster can perform a variety of complex tasks.
Precision for Delicate Electronics
Micro-abrasive blasting offers a number of applications for the electronics lab. For instance, printed wiring assemblies include a conformal coating that protects the electronic circuits from moisture and other chemicals in the environment. That coating must be removed very carefully when the part needs to be repaired or reconfigured.
Traditionally, workers have used solvents to remove conformal coatings. Those solvents, however, can contaminate the environment. Micro-abrasive blasting provides an alternative to solvents that is cost-effective, fast and environmentally friendly. Abrasive blasting also offers greater precision, allowing workers to precisely target the area for coating removal.
In addition to removal of conformal coatings, abrasive blasting is also extremely effective for tasks such as cutting circuit board conductors, trimming capacitors, and cleaning or stripping magnetic wires. The ability to process components without heat and shock makes blasting an ideal solution for many electronics needs.
Automated Solutions for Complex Machinery in University Laboratories
When tiny components of complicated machines require precision drilling or edging, an automated solution can ensure an essential level of accuracy and consistency. Some laboratory tasks demand a level of exact control that human hands cannot provide. For those situations, micro-abrasive blasting is automated using programmable logic controllers and robotics.
In a lab, that automation provides engineers the ability to fine-tune minute details on a prototype, for example. Those details can be replicated with exactness in subsequent iterations of the project, allowing for meticulous control over the variables involved.
Ensuring Optimum Aerodynamics
Likewise, for aerospace applications, micro-abrasive blasting helps ensure that low-tolerance parts operate at peak performance for flight. The Airbus A380 stretches 239.5 feet long, with a wingspan of 261.8 feet. The safety of the passengers inside the plane, however, depends on thousands of delicate parts working flawlessly.
For the Airbus, as well as for high tech satellites designed in aerospace laboratories across the country, abrasive blasting becomes a key tool in cleaning and repairing those parts, preparing for safe flight and compliance with strict regulations. For example, abrasive blasting is an ideal method for removing contaminants like grease or preparing surfaces for greater adhesion.
Creative, Dependable Micro-Abrasive Blasting Solutions for University Laboratories
University laboratories on the cutting edge of science demand creative solutions for complex problems. From modifying circuit boards to cleaning tiny mechanical components, micro-abrasive blasting is an essential tool for the well-running laboratory.
The experts at Airbrasive have spent the past 65 years customizing solutions for industry and educational institutions around the world. We bring a vast reservoir of experience to the table as we determine the best machines, nozzles and powders for your task. And we back all of our equipment with a guarantee of 100 percent satisfaction.