NASA Langley developed an instrument to measure low levels of contamination on curved or irregularly shaped surfaces. The instrument offers unique capabilities such as the ability to identify and quantify contamination and analyze multiple surfaces simultaneously. This information provides an analysis of surface cleanliness needed for more reliable adhesive bonding in applications such as lightweight aircraft.
The instrument directs ultraviolet (UV) radiation onto a surface, producing a small electric current. The instrument measures that current as it changes over a short time interval. By analyzing the current, the level of contamination on the surface and the identification of the contaminant species can be determined.