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Practicum assignment Surface Roughness Measurements


Exploring Surface Texture

Ivan Buijnsters
Andr Sartori (white-light interferometer, surface
Alkisti Gkouzou (surface profilometer)
Kai Wu (white-light interferometer)
PME lab space (F-0-420) + PME optics lab (F-0-803)

1. Mitutoyo Surftest: the stylus tip is a very delicate and
expensive component. Please make sure no collision, or full
speed contact, occurs between the stylus and the
workpiece. So, always approach the workpiece slowly!
2. Bruker White Light Interferometer: Never use the Fast
button when you are fine-tuning the focus of the system, or
when the objective is near the sample. Contact between the
objective and the sample will damage the objective and
internal optics!
(note: working distance for 50X objective is only 3.4mm!)
3. Any damage needs to be announced immediately.
4. No food or drinks in the labs!
5. In case of doubts: ask your lab coaches.

The question whether a surface is rough or smooth is of subjective nature.
This is further complicated when a surface is produced by different
processes such as turning, milling and grinding. Examination of the
surface texture left on a workpiece as a result of machining or production
operation will often reveal tool or machine defects or incorrect tool
settings. The degree of roughness is of considerable importance, because
it affects the functioning, cosmetic acceptance and the costs of a
component. So, we need to determine in numerical terms how rough a
surface is.

Assignment objectives
1. Understand the basic principles of the two surface texture
evaluation methods: stylus measurement and optical
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2. Learn how to operate the Mitutoyo Portable Surface

Roughness Tester (Surftest SJ-210) and Bruker White Light
3. Understand the meaning of surface parameters, being able to
select suitable roughness parameters and filter settings to
evaluate surfaces.
4. Investigate the influence of manufacturing processes and
measurement settings on surface roughness values.
5. Determine the (nano)roughness of some interesting materials:
flat Si-wafer, your smartphone touch screen,

Assignment description
Assignment 1: Literature survey
Search for problems and limitations in micro/nano metrology
(especially surface roughness measurement).
Briefly describe the working principles of the 2 specific
measurement techniques of stylus profilometry and whitelight interferometry.
A set of 1-2 aluminum workpieces (35 mm , 15 mm thickness) per
student team is provided. Samples were sawn in the workshop from
an aluminum bar. Also, several reference sets of random (e.g., spark
erosion) and textured surfaces are available for a quick
check/calibration of the stylus system.
Assignment 2: Practice on Mitutoyo Surftest (1h30m)
1. Get acquainted with the system components (see instruction
2. Create your own group folder on the desktop.
3. Open the SJ-Communication-Tool software (User name:
.\localadmin, Password: Welkom02) and switch on
Mitutoyo measurement tool. Learn how to set the
measurement and analysis conditions (detailed instruction
guide and quick reference manual are available).
4. Select 2 calibration surfaces from the reference sets provided.
parameters and filter. Verify whether the roughness values
that you obtain are within ~10% error of the given reference
5. Make several measurement scans on the as-sawn workpiece
surface. Measure the roughness in terms of Ra, Rq and Rz.
6. Polish your aluminum workpiece in 3 consecutive steps using
the different grades of sandpaper. After each step, measure
the roughness again in terms of Ra, Rq and Rz, and explain
any differences.

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7. Change the measurement length and the cut off you used
and repeat some of the measurements on samples that you
have already measured. Explain the differences, if there are
Assignment 3: Practice on Bruker Interferometer (1h30m)
8. Get acquainted with the machine components (user manual
9. Open the software and learn how to set the measurement and
the analysis conditions. Use help option for further
instructions, if needed.
10. Make some single measurements on the as-sawn workpiece
surface. Choose suitable measurement parameters.
11. Polish the sample surface in 3 consecutive steps using the
different grades of sandpaper provided (only to be done in
lab F-0-420!).
12. For each step, complete a single measurement. Record the
changes in surface roughness using several specific roughness
parameters and record the respective 3D surface images.
Explain the differences.
13. Save all your numerical data and the 3D image screenshots.
14. Try to analyse the surface of your smartphone screen or any
other sample (MEMS, micro-pattern) provided to you. What do
you notice? Try to link roughness/texture to its function.
Important notes:
The lab computers are NOT connected to the internet. You
need to save the data and images to ASCII, Excel, Word, or
pdf documents in your desktop folders. Afterwards, copy your
files to a USB memory key.
Group folders will be deleted from the desktop regularly, so be
sure to have copied all your documents by the end of your lab

1. Report in Word, containing: What was measured and under
which conditions. Explain the effect of the sawing and
polishing processes on the surface roughness. Hereto, explain
the chosen measurement settings and discuss the selected
roughness parameters. Insert surface plots (profile data &
surface images) of relevant measurements to support your
2. Competition: prove quantitatively that you have
produced the smoothest surface among all your fellow

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