07.11.2022 by Aileen Sammler

Who has the Oldest Laser Flash Apparatus still in Use? 

As part of our 60th anniversary, we looked into the history of our Laser Flash Apparatuses in September and asked: Who has the oldest instrument still in use? 

The winner is the Institute for Materials Applications in Mechanical Engineering (IWM) at RWTH Aachen University. Congratulations! In 1992, they purchased a prototype of the LFA 427, which is still providing reliable service 30 years later.


Photo: LFA 427 @ RWTH Aachen


Angelika Kiefel, Department of Fatigue & Fracture Mechanics at RWTH Aachen - Institute for Material Application in Mechanical Engineering (IWM) - wrote the following:

"Our Laser Flash 427 is a very special instrument that was put into operation as a prototype at our institute in 1992. Over the last 30 years, the IWM has undergone several transformations, mergers and name changes, which our Laser Flash witnessed. The biggest spatial change for our LFA was the relocation from Nizzaallee 32 to Augustinerbach 4 in 2013, where it is still located in the thermophysics lab and where it has been and is being used on a regular basis.

Unlike the modern LFA 427, our Laser Flash consists of a total of 3 (large) parts - the laser cabinet, the control unit and the actual testing device which includes detector, furnace and sample chamber. In order to be able to guarantee highly precise results even after 30 years, we have regularly maintained our LFA over the past decades and replaced some parts. For instance, we upgraded our LFA installing an aperture wheel control instead of the original iris blind system.

With our Laser Flash, we mainly test metallic materials and investigate, for instance, the influence of microstructure and porosity on the Diffusività TermicaThermal diffusivity (a with the unit mm2/s) is a material-specific property for characterizing unsteady heat conduction. This value describes how quickly a material reacts to a change in temperature.thermal diffusivity of materials produced by LPBF* as well as injection-molded materials. However, occasionally it is also used to analyze ceramics and polymers."


Mrs. Kiefel, thank you very much for your contribution!

The raffle continues ‒ it's all about Dynamic-Mechanical Analysis (DMA) until November, 10. Find out more here: 60 Years of NETZSCH Analyzing & Testing

*LPBF: Laser Powder Bed Fusion