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anyone ever examine "burn in" under a microscope?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm sure this has been done somewhere. Does anyone have links to articles and/or publications?

OR... I do have access to optical and electron microscopes and I work in a metallurgy lab. I would be totally willing to look at things under the lens if you guys send me samples (presumably of broken devices and whatnot).
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 12
If you work in a metallurgy lab, there should be plenty of people there who could better answer your question than anyone here I would think.

post #4 of 12
If burn-in applies to all dynamic drivers, couldn't you just pick up a pair of cheapies ($3 coby headphones or something?) This is a very cool idea, but I think the real challenge would be in applying/interpreting the microscope data.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm a skeptic, but if someone wants to tell me what to look for (grain size? crystal alignment? etc) then I'll examine it under an SEM and post the results.
post #6 of 12
I think you should do it.
post #7 of 12
in the manner of an ATM machine telling you to feed it a cat, dooo eeeeet O_O
post #8 of 12
If you roll up a piece of paper into a ball for a couple of minutes it gets as soft as tissue paper. Maybe you could inspect two halves of a sheet of paper with and without softening as a reference, and see if there is a similar difference between a well-used and new headphone speaker (a cellulose one at least) that are otherwise identical.
post #9 of 12
Hard evidence... now we're talking. Very CSI...without the crime. ; )
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have no doubt that the flexible part of the speakers (I forget what it's called... the surround?) will soften. That's simply the nature of the materials used when they undergo deformation. Temperature will also greatly affect this area, and sometimes even humidity (to a lesser extent).

I'm more interested in examining solid state components and cables/wires.
post #11 of 12
Hi Armaegis, I used to repair SEMs for the now defunct Cambridge Instruments. Very cool gadgets.

I tend to doubt that any of the effects of burn in will be visible in an SEM. To my knowledge burn in does not effect the granular structure of wire, for example. (Maybe cryo treatments might do something that gross.)

If there is anything to break-in it's most likely found in the electonic/magnetic characteristics in the material (atomic alignment, dialectric characteristics) rather than its physical structure. Things that might possibly show up using voltage contrast techniques in an SEM, but I doubt even that since the contrast mechanism itself might obscure the effect you are looking for. Auger and TEM techniques looking at the actual atomic structure might be better tools.

Personally, I kind of doubt you'll be able to observe anything.

The real expert in this field is Kevin Gilmore, I'll shoot him a note to have a look at this thread and see if he might want to add anything.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi Tyll,

I'm also skeptical whether I'd be able to see anything, but I remain a scientist firstmost and like to see things with my own eyes. I do have a rather extensive background in metallurgy compared to most. I do believe cryo treatments can alter the structure of metal, but have doubts whether that would actually alter the sound to any perceptible degree (I have a bunch of posts in the "cryoparts" threads in this sub forum).

We do actually have an Auger and TEM in the labs, but I have no training on those machines (heck, I think only two people in the entire department even know how to use those things). I do know how to use the x-ray diffractometer (XRD) though, so I could examine changes in crystal structure. I'm also the only guy in the labs who knows how to use the orientation imaging microscope (OIM), so I could examine crystal/grain alignment if needed.
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