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Materials Characterization Laboratory

The Materials Characterization Laboratory at Fairfield’s School of Engineering offers advanced analytical instrumentation and state-of-the-art equipment that allows students and professors to visualize, identify, and measure the surface characteristics of natural and manufactured materials used in the design and fabrication of products with applications in the fields of engineering, science, and medicine.

Founded in 2014 through a generous grant from the Alden Family Trust and Brinkman Family Foundation, the Materials Characterization Laboratory provides research and educational opportunities for engineering, physical sciences, and nursing courses. Working in the materials lab prepares students for careers in the biomedical, aerospace, and materials industries, to name just a few. The lab equipment is frequently used for demonstrations relevant to local industry needs.


  • Advanced Manufacturing, Automation and Robotics, MAR, Laboratory (BNW127)
  • Mechanical Engineering Laboratory (BNW 128)
  • Material Characterization Laboratory (BNW129A)
  • Cybersecurity Laboratory (BNW131)
  • Power, Electronics, and Bioengineering Laboratory (BNW133)
  • Engineering Machine Shop Laboratory (BNW 136)

All labs have been serving as multi-tasking areas and contain state-of-the-art computer hardware, integrated into the Fairfield University Network. The new Machine Laboratory in BNW136 contains up-to-date numerical milling and tool room lathe machines supported by the Brinkman Family Foundation. View pictures of students working in our labs.

Please contact Dr. Sriharsha Sundarram (, 203-254-4000 ext. 2634) to obtain instrument specifications and to arrange for training and use of instruments.

S.No. Equipment Model Description/Usage Picture
1 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with EDX Topcon ABT 60 This SEM with Energy Dispersing X-Ray Spectography (EDX) is used for imaging of surface topography and quantitative chemical analysis.  11661_soe_labs_scanning-electron-microscope_07312018
2 Sputter Coater Denton Desk II The sputter coater uses a sputter-deposition process to coat samples with gold prior to observing in the SEM. 11661_soe_labs_sputter-coater_07312018
3 Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) NanoSurf NAIO AFM The AFM uses a cantilever with a sharp probe for topography observation, surface roughness measurements, and surface morphology characterization at nano-scale. 11661_soe_labs_atomic-force-microscope_07312018
4 Four-Probe Station J Micro LMS 3009 The mechanical four-probe station is used to physically acquire measurements of sheet resistance, conductivity, and other relevant electrical properties. 11661_soe_labs_four-probe-station_07312018
5 Thermal Constants Analyzer Hot Disk TPS 500 This Hot Disk thermal constants analyzer measures thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and specific heat. 11661_soe_labs_thermal-constants-analyzer_07312018
6 Digital Sonifier Branson SFX 250 This ultrasonic cell disrupter/homogenizer is used for a broad range of liquid processing applications. 11661_soe_labs_digital-sonifier_07312018
7 Tensile Tester Instron 4481, Zwick Z005 The tensile tester performs mechanical testing in which a sample is subjected to a controlled tension unit failure. 11661_soe_labs_tensile-tester_07312018
8 Hardness Tester Zwick 4150BK The hardness tester is used for determining hardness of plastics and rubbers in accordance with standards. 11661_soe_labs_hardness-tester_07312018
9 Stereo Microscope Olympus SZX 12 The stereo microscope is designed for low magnification imaging of samples, using light reflected from the surface of an object, rather than transmitted through it. 11661_soe_labs_stereo-microscope_07312018
10 Metallurgical Microscope Unitron MEC 2 This high-power microscope is used to view opaque objects to examine material microstructure and precipitation hardening. ‌‌11661_soe_labs_metallurical-microscope_07312018
11 Grinder/Polisher MTI Unipol 820 The grinder/polisher is used to prepare samples for optical microscopy. 11661_soe_labs_grinder-polisher_07312018‌‌
12 Abrasive Cut-off Saw MTI SYJ 30 This certified heavy-duty cut-off saw is designed to cut metallographic samples. 11661_soe_labs_abrasive-cut-off-saw_07312018
13 High Temperature Furnace MTI KSL-1100X This furnace is used to undertake lab procedures requiring heat treatment of metal, polymer, and ceramic samples. It has a maximum temperature of 1100 degrees Celcius. 11661_soe_labs_high-temp-furnace_07312018
14 Vacuum Drying Oven MTI DZF-6020 The radiant warm wall heating system provides optimal uniformity for drying, curing, vacuum embedding, and plating applications. 11661_soe_labs_vacuum-drying-oven_07312018
15 Hydraulic Hot Press MTI YLJ-HP88V-350 This device uses a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force for powder processing and polymer/ceramic sample preparation. ‌‌‌11661_soe_labs_hydrualic-hot-press_07312018
16 Ultrasonic Cleaner MTI VGT-1860 QTD This cleaner uses cavitation bubbles induced by high frequency pressure (sound) waves to agitate a liquid and clean samples. 11661_soe_labs_ultra-sonic-cleaner_07312018‌‌
17 Surface Roughness Tester Mitutoyo Surftest SJ 210 This hand-held tool can be carried and used on-site to measure surface roughness. 11661_soe_labs_surface-rough-tester_07312018‌‌
18 Viscometer Viscolead One R This instrument measures the viscosity of different fluids. 11661_soe_labs_viscometer_07312018‌‌
19 Rotating Fatigue Machine GUNT WP 140 This machine determines the fatigue life of materials when subjected to alternating stresses. 11661_soe_labs_rotating-fatigue-machine_07312018‌‌
20 3D Printer Makerbot Replicator This printer creates 3D prints with PLA and ABS, for professional-quality high-resolution prototypes and complex models. 11661_soe_labs_3d-printer_07312018‌‌
21 High Temperature Vacuum Tube Furnace MTI OTF-1200X This vacuum tube furnace heats samples up to 1200 degrees Celsius. 11661_soe_labs_high-temp-vacuum-tube-furnace_07312018‌‌

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