Materials Development and Characterization Center

The Texas A&M Materials Development and Characterization Center was established in 2008 as a part of the Materials Science and Engineering graduate program, now a stand-alone department. It is a user facility serving materials researchers at Texas A&M University College Station campus, and other Texas A&M System members, various universities and industry. MDC 2 houses the fabrication and characterization instrumentations required for fundamental science research as well as applications as new materials and devices. The Center interacts with multiple users such as multiple departments in the Texas A&M University community, the US National Labs, US Army, Navy and Air Force, and commercial companies for research and development.


  • Squid VSM
    The system offers unique versatility in materials research by measuring the Magnetic moments as a function of Magnetic Field( 0 to 7 Tesla), Temperature (2 K to 400 K) and time through its capabilities over highest quality data acquisition. It allows automated magnetic moment measurement for automated control over magnetic field, temperature and time changes. Its sensitivity to measure magnetic moment of the range of 10-8 emu and capability to cool the sample from room temperature to 2 K within 30 minutes makes the system unique.
  • BRUKER D8 X-ray
    • Cu sealed tube X-ray Source
    • Third generation Gobel Mirror provides the X-ray highest flux density
    • Dynamic Scintillation detector and Sol X detector also available
    • System is designed for easy and failsafe operation
    • High performance optics provide the optimum resolution for each application and sample
    • Centric Eulerian Cradle provides advantage for texture, micro diffraction investigation
    • 5 inch vacuum chuck
    • Thermally controlled stage for measurement from Room Temperature to 1100 °C
    • Rietveld Refinement analysis
  • Spark Plasma Sintering System
    • SPS is high speed powder consolidation process
    • High amperage pulsed DC current is used to activate the consolidation and reaction-sintering of materials
    • Full density and controlled porosity
    • Pre-forming and binders NOT necessary
    • Retains nanometric particle structure
    • Fast cycle times
    • Powder-to-part net and near-net shapes
    • Minimal grain growth
    • Ease of use
    • Max. Temp.: 2200 °C
    • Max. Ramp Rate: 200 °C/minute
    • Max. Pressure: 100 Mpa
    • Die size(dia): 20 to 50 mm
  • Glove Box
    • The OMNI-Lab’s glovebox provides a working volume of inert atmosphere nearly free of moisture and oxygen. The glovebox is a hermetically sealed, stainless steel enclosure with a full-view window. Installed is a right side mounted 15″ inside diameter antechamber with an interior and exterior entry/exit airlock door, used for passing materials in and out without disturbing the glovebox atmosphere. All materials are passed in and out of the glovebox on a sliding tray installed in the antechamber.
    • 9″ diameter glove ports and butyl rubber gloves, mounted in the full-view window, provide easy access to all areas of the glovebox. Two standard customer interface connections are located on the left side of the glovebox. Electrical connections inside the glovebox are provided with a standard duplex receptacle box on the lower right side.
    • It provides optional moisture and oxygen analyzers mounted on the control panel. There are 2 models of each type of analyzer. The basic analyzers provide autoranging displays from 10 ppm to percent ranges. The moisture and oxygen analyzers are also available in models with added user adjustable setpoints for audio alarm activation
  • Vacuum Tube Furnace
    • Max. Temperature: 1500 °C
    • Max. Ramp Rate: 15 °C/Minute
    • Vacuum: 10 exp(-4) Torr
  • Arc Melter System
    Edmund Buhler´s Arc Melting system provides following features:
    • Multi-purpose button and groove crucibles in a copper base plate.
    • Highly reliable, hydraulic heavy-duty hoist.
    • Contactless high-voltage, high-frequency arc ignition.
    • Water-cooled, double-walled high vacuum chamber.
    • Motor driven, water-cooled tungsten electrode which can be moved freely above the crucibles.
    • Excellent observation of the melting process through two viewing ports.
    • All important control functions are integrated in the head of the electrode and ensure safe and convenient operation.
    • Complete pumping system and supply units.
    • Powerful generators for melting quantities of up to 500 g and approx. 4000°C (400 and 800 A).
    • Special design of the vacuum chamber for large batches up to
    • approx. 500 g or for in situ casting of the molten alloys.
    • Manipulator for turning small samples in situ.
  • Differential scanning calorimeter
    The Differential scanning calorimeter (TA instruments model Q 2000) system offers unique versatility in materials research by determining the temperature and heat flow associated with material transition as a function of time and temperature (minus 183 °C to 725 °C) through its capabilities over auto sampler and auto temperature control during quality data acquisition. The SDT Q600 provides simultaneous measurement of weight change (TGA) and true differential heat flow (DSC) on the same sample from ambient to 1,500 °C. It features a field-proven horizontal dual beam design with automatic beam growth compensation, and the ability to analyze two TGA samples simultaneously. DSC heat flow data is dynamically normalized using the instantaneous sample weight at any given temperature
  • Keyence VHX-2000 optical Microscope
    The VHX-2000 Digital Microscope is designed to alleviate the shortcomings of traditional, optical light microscopes – shallow depth-of-field, short working distance, lack of portability and versatility, sample limitations. This system is equipped with a CCD camera, 17″ LCD monitor, light source, controller, analysis/reporting software and a motorized XY stage along with motorized Z-axis lens control which helps to improve the speed and efficiency of the inspection process. This system has a capability of a wide ranged microscopic observation with magnification range from 50x – 1000x. Other features are as follows:
    • 360 degree observation
    • 2D/3D imaging and measurement capability, including automated measurement tools
    • High-speed image stitching
    • Super Resolution imaging mode
    • High Dynamic Range [HDR]
    • Depth composition function for full-focus imaging
    • 54 megapixel 3CCD camera
  • MTS compression testing system
    The MTS compression system ( model MTS insight 30 SL) is comprised of load frame with force capacity of 1kN to 300kN with minimum test speed 0.001 mm/min. and maximum speed 500 mm/min. The position resolution is 0.001 mm. It is DC 4 Quadrant Motor driven system. This system is controlled by TestWorks software which provides fully automatic machine control, data acquisition and also temperature control in the range of minus 80 C to 300 C.
  • MR7 laser 3D printer
    • Manufacturing smaller components
    • Building up structures directly from powders-metals, alloys, ceramics or composites
    • Multiple material capabilities
    • Rapid setup- make a new alloy in ten minutes
    • create graded material samples
    • 300 mm cubed work envelop
    • 3 axes motion controlled
    • 1kW Fiber laser
    • Class I laser Enclosure hermetically sealed to maintain Oxygen level below 10 ppm
    • Highly controlled atmosphere to ensure no impurity during deposition
    • Four powder feeders