Arthur Heuer spends a lot of his time studying how to make stainless steel harder and improve its resistance to corrosion. His research is possible thanks to the equipment at the Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis of Materials (
) on the CWRU
The center has 20 electron microscopes and other instruments for microstructural characterization of materials and surface and near-surface chemical analysis. Basically, SCSAM is home to a lot of expensive equipment that allows industrial and academic users to conduct surface analysis, structural analysis and optic microscopy.
Industrial companies come from around the world to use the $20 million worth of equipment at SCSAM. “We don’t know of any place that has the diversity of instruments and staff that we have,” says Heuer, who is the center’s director. “I modestly claim it’s the best such facility on the planet.”
In a typical year, SCSAM sees 300 users who pay a service contract to use the equipment. Many industrial clients come on a weekly basis. “Our industrial clients like us because we are one-stop shopping,” says Heuer. Academic users pay a lesser rate to use the facility.
The fees cover the operational costs. The service fees are far less than investing in the equipment, even for companies that come to SCSAM on a regular basis. “We break even,” says Heuer. “The university doesn’t need to subsidize us.” Seven full time engineers maintain the equipment and train users.
Source: Arthur Heuer
Writer: Karin Connelly