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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X


MATOPE, S.; VAN DER MERWE, A.F.  and  RABINOVICH, Y.I.. Silver, copper and aluminium coatings for micro-material handling operations. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2013, vol.24, n.2, pp.69-77. ISSN 2224-7890.

Micro-material handling has challenges accompanying it because of adhesive forces, which make the picking and placing of micro-parts difficult. The adhesive forces hinder the picking of a micro-part, and once picked, they pose even a greater challenge when attempts to release a micro-part are made. Van der Waals' forces are part of the adhesive forces and are always present between interacting surfaces in a micro-material handling operation. However, Van der Waals' forces can profitably be manipulated in a micromaterial handling operation. The paper reveals how the Van der Waals' forces can be advantageously used in micro-material handling operations involving silver, copper and aluminium coatings of rms surface roughness values ranging from 0.5 nm to 2.72 nm, which are produced by the electron beam evaporation (e-beam) method. These were found to exert Van der Waals' forces ranging from 17 nN to 314 nN, which can be used for reliable micro-material handling operations.

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