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3 Factors Determine the Damage Potential of Particles

For cleanliness analysis, the potential of a particle to cause damage is best assessed by measuring its reflectivity, height, and composition


This article discusses the 3 factors for determining the potential of a particle to cause damage to parts and components in the automotive and electronic industry. These factors include the measurement of particle reflectivity, height, and composition. Optical microscopy can be used to evaluate particle reflectivity and height, but a spectroscopic method like laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is needed for particle composition. A 2-methods-in-1 solution, combining microscopy and LIBS, helps users to determine a particle’s damage potential efficiently.

Key learnings

Cleanliness analysis

Particulate contamination on automotive parts and electronic components can have a critical effect on their performance and lifetime. Technical cleanliness is a very important part of quality control for modern manufacturing and production. Cleanliness analysis includes the determination of the damage potential of a particle. Hard metallic or ceramic particles are more abrasive than soft organic ones. Long metallic particles can cause electrical shorts and damage electronic components.

Assessing damage potential

There are 3 main factors to consider when determining the damage potential of a particle:

  • Differentiation between reflective particles (usually conductive, hard, metallic ones) and non-reflective particles (usually non-conductive, soft, non-metallic ones) using optical microscopy
  • Determining the lateral (X,Y) and vertical (Z, height) dimensions of the particle with an optical microscope; large, hard particles have a greater damage potential
  • Knowing more precisely the particle composition to better identify those with a greater damage potential; often spectroscopic methods, like laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), are needed

Cleanliness analysis solutions

Users are able to perform efficient and accurate particle analysis and determine the damage potential with Leica cleanliness analysis solutions which utilize optical microscopy and LIBS.

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