Equipment

Our lab is now fully equipped to perform research at the interface of polymer science and biomedical engineering. Below is a list of our equipment.

We are always looking for collaborations and partners in academia and industry.

If you are interested in working with us or in using any of the instrumentation found in the Smart Polymers for Biomedical Applications Website, please contact Dr. Ecker.


Materials Synthesis and Characterization

For the synthesis of our customized polymers, we have:

  • Speed Mixer from FlackTek Inc. Model DAC 150.1 FVZ-K
  • Vacuum Oven from Sheldon Manufacturing Inc., model SVAC2E
  • Fume hood
  • Balance
  • Spin coater from Laurell, model WS-650MZ-23NPPB
  • Two UVP Crosslinker, with UV bulbs at 365 nm and 254 nm

We can cast or spin coat polymers. Curing can be accomplished either through UV irradiation at 254 or 365 nm or thermally.

For the processing and characterization of polymers, we have:

Discovery DMA 850 from TA Instruments, equipped with:

  • Film/Fiber Tension Kit
  • Parallel Plate Compression Kit
  • Submersion Film/Fiber Tension Kit
  • Submersion Parallel Plate Compression Kit

This instrument allows measuring the thermomechanical properties of materials (e.g. polymers, metals) in tension and in compression. That includes the measurement of parameters such as storage modulus E’, loss modulus E” and damping tan δ. The submersion fixures allow tho measure thermomechanical properties inside solutions (e.g. water, PBS) to mimic materials behavior in physiological conditions or to quantify plasticization effects.

  • Maximum Force         18 N
  • Minimum Force           0.0001 N
  • Force Resolution         0.00001 N
  • Frequency Range       0.001 to 200 Hz
  • Dynamic Deformation Range ±0.005 to 10,000 μm
  • Strain Resolution         0.1nm
  • Modulus Range           103 to 3×1012 Pa
  • Modulus Precision      ± 1%
  • Tan δ Sensitivity         0.0001
  • Tan δ Resolution         0.00001
  • Temperature Range:  -160°C to 600°C (20°C/min Heating, 10 °C/min Cooling)
  • Time-Temperature Superposition       YES

UniVert from CellScale – Mechanical Testing System

The system is capable of tension, compression, and bending testing at forces up to 200 N. A wide range of grips and fixtures are available to accommodate different specimens and testing modes. Our UniVert system is equipped with a temperature-controlled fluid bath to ensure sensitive biomaterials are tested under the appropriate conditions.

  • Available Load Cells: 10, 50, and 200 N
  • Force Accuracy: 0.2% of load cell capacity
  • Maximum grip separation: 140 mm
  • Maximum velocity: 20 mm/s
  • Maximum cycle frequency: 2 Hz
  • Maximum data rate: 100 Hz
  • High-resolution CCD imaging with image-based strain measurement tools
  • Fully featured user interface software for simple, cyclic, relaxation, and multi-modal testing with real-time feedback

LS 100 30 W CO2 laser engraver with honeycomb cutting table and stand-alone exhaust.

Highly versatile professional CO₂ engraving and cutting solution. This allows for cutting of samples into testing geometry. The laser can be adapted to different materials such as acrylics, plastics, coated metals, natural materials (paper, wood, leather, etc.) and soft materials (foam, rubber).

Two IsoTemp Gravity oven 176 L.

Outstanding temperature uniformity and stability to keep samples at the desired condition and wide temperature range: 50 to 250 °C. Optimal for durability studies of materials at various temperatures.


Cell Culture Room

We have also a cell culture room that is equipped with:

  • Labconco A2 Laminar flow hood
  • HeraCell Vios 160i CO2 incubator
  • Centrifuge
  • -80 °C Freezer

We can perform various experiments to test for in vitro biocompatibility of biomaterials. That includes, but is not limited to live/dead assays or measuring cellular metabolic activity (e.g. MTT). Please ask us for more details.


Fee Structure

The sponsor cost is the service cost if we perform the experiments for you. User cost if you perform the experiments on your own with our equipment after proper training. General consumables such as gloves, wipes, disposable pipets, etc. are included. Other materials (e.g. chemicals, ELISA kits, cell cultures) are excluded and must be paid separately. Prices for durability tests and biocompatibility may vary dependent on the complexity of the test. Please contact us to discuss the details and to get a customized quote.

Equipment Sponsor Cost User Cost (external)
DMA dry $350/hour $50/hour
DMA submersion $450/hour $60/hour
Polymer synthesis $450/hour $60/hour
Durability study Starting at $350/test Starting at $60/test
Biocompatibility test (in vitro) Starting at $350/test Starting at $60/test