How to Measure Surface Porosity

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Porosity is the property of a material for which a substance can flow through it. Measure surface porosity with help from an applied physics professional in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Walter Unglaub, and this is "how to measure surface porosity." Porosity is the property of a material for which a substance can flow through it. So, here, I have a simple diagram of a sponge type material, which has material. It's made out of the sponge, but it also has a lot of empty space inside of it, like a vacuum. So, the porosity is defined as how easy it is for a substance, such as water, or soot, or some other substance, to flow through the material, through these pores, or through a network of empty space and pores inside of the material. If we're interested in surface porosity, then we have to examine just the surface, just the top part. Now, there are several ways to do this. And, one, very popular method would be to use optics, an optical method. So, if you take a microscope and you look at the surface area of some material, it doesn't have to be a sponge, but it does have to have pores, small holes, through which material can flow, then one can define the surface porosity as simply the ratio of the area of the pores divided by the total area that the material takes up. This process can be automated with some sort of detector that can differentiate between the pores and the actual material, depending on the optical properties of the material. But, we see that as we define the surface porosity ratio, as the area of the pores is greater than the area of the material, the surface that we're examining will have a greater surface porosity. There are other methods, but this is a good one to use for most materials when we're just examining the surface. My name is Walter Unglaub, and this is "how to measure surface porosity."

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