Berkeley has a full fledged metallurgy lab that consists of standard microscopes, electron microscopes (including one that accepts plastics), a spectrometer that identifies the composition of materials, and other tools necessary to determine materials and their failures.
With an optical microscope, BEAR engineers examine properties of certain materials. Surfaces or cross-sections of samples are examined with this kind of microscope.
scanning electron microscopy
Our Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) capability complements digital microscopy by allowing resolutions of up to 50,000x. To the left is the SEM, and the plot on the right is generated by Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) of the surface being analyzed with the SEM. From the plot, we can understand what kind of elements are present on the targeted surface.
Our portable digital microscope has two polarizers, which reduces glare and provides incredibly sharp images. The photo to the right is of the microscope itself. This device took the image of the horizontal cross section (image to the left) of a hip implant failure.