Cross-section of the airtight container, showing the membrane (1), the annular clamp (2), the O-ring (3), the body of the container (4), and the needle (5). For better visibility, the two side braces, which maintain the upper ring in compression over the membrane, are not shown on these schematics. The next views show the airtight container at various inflation stages during the evacuation of the vacuum chamber.
(a) General view of a sample loaded container installed in the chamber of a scanning electron microscope (Hitachi S-3400N VP-SEM). The puncturing needle is clearly visible above the yellow rubber membrane. (b) Container taken out of the microscope after analysis. Samples are glued on a piece of carbon tape in the center of the container. During the evacuation of the microscope chamber, the membrane ruptures and retracts towards the rim of the container, exposing the samples fully to the electron beam. After analysis, and quickly after opening the SEM specimen chamber, the samples are immersed in a drop of mineral oil for protection.
(a) Electron micrograph of a polished SrI2 ceramic transferred without airtight container and exposed to ambient air for about 6 s during transfer from a dry N2 filled-desiccator to the VP-SEM chamber. (b) Surface of a polished ceramic sample transferred using an airtight container. The grain-boundaries that define the ceramic microstructure are clearly visible. Localized precipitated residues forming grey patches on the surface of the sample are due to un-optimized etching conditions.
Typical water vapor and oxygen permeation in various elastomer materials.9
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