Ordinary consumer products sometimes have surprising structures and features when viewed at higher magnification. Here’s a perfect example: It’s sodium bicarbonate. You may recognize it as baking soda (NaHCO3). It may also be a chemical you use as part of a product manufacturing process. It’s one of those products that has a thousand uses.

Higher magnification shows why it has application as a mild abrasive. Those rod-like structures certainly have the potential to provide scraping power, but they’re fragile. And they’re also soluble in water, so they don’t stick around long.

These images were taken using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Because sodium bicarbonate is non-conductive, a thin (approximately 3 nm) layer of gold-palladium was sputtered onto the sample surface to provide a conductive layer that helps prevent static charge buildup on the sample surface from the incident electron beam.

Many materials used in manufacturing processes, and end products themselves are non-conductive, and it is often useful to image those samples for quality control purposes. So whether you need to image particles to evaluate clumping, measure particles for size and consistency, or image and measure the surface structure, roughness or porosity of materials, SEM is a key tool used to get you the information you need…when you need it.

Want to learn more about how SEM can help answer your questions? Email us at answers@analyticalanswersinc.com