Atomic, or Scanning Force Microscopy, is a surface examination technique using a mechanical tip in contact with a surface. The tip is attracted or deflected by surface features through inter atomic forces.
Plant engineers will no longer be required to machine out small pieces of material from thick section components for study in the lab under an SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) – I-SFM is portable, so it is taken and used directly on components on-site during outages. I-SFM connects to a laptop while operating so that the information it detects is instantly available and can be recorded and manipulated by the user on-site, or can be instantaneously sent in electronic format for analysis.
New NDE techniques needed to be developed to predict in-service component deterioration at a reasonably early stage in life.