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Handheld contact angle instruments for surface analysis: the latest advances


Contact angle instruments measure the contact angle between a drop of test liquid and a substrate or coated surface. The data is used for calculating surface free energy (SFE), for example to determine the wettability of a workpiece in preparation for a bonding or coating process. Today’s contact angle instruments deliver reliable, reproducible data in around 1–2 seconds. This automated approach has clear advantages over conventional manual ink-based methods, which are slow, lack reproducibility, and are dependent on the technician’s individual assessment.

The latest handheld contact angle instruments, such as the Mobile Surface Analyzer – MSA, for the factory floor or lab open up opportunities for significant improvements in analytical performance in the automotive, aerospace, and other manufacturing industries. These mobile devices, which are light and compact in design, employ two separate droplets of different liquids (water and diiodomethane), delivered via innovative dosing technology.

A key advantage of these instruments is that they deliver data used to determine the polar and dispersive components of the SFE. This aspect of the measurement process, which is not feasible with ink-based methods such as dyne pens, provides a very accurate assessment of wettability to maintain or even enhance the quality of our client's products.


A changing paradigm in surface quality control

What are the basic challenges and applications of surface activation? Which innovative automated methods (contact angle) are available compared to conventional manual test methods (test inks)? How do mobile measuring devices like the MSA determine the polarity of surface free energy, thus enabling a very accurate assessment of wettability? Find out how this new technique helps you to enhance your quality control.

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The advantages of the MSA at a glance

The Mobile Surface Analyzer – MSA has many advantages over conventional ink-based tests. In our overview below you can see your most relevant benefits.

Fast & reliable

Quick test execution and reliable data

Automated test results

Software automatically documents and manages results


Versatile and easy to use mobile device

Polarity results with two liquids proof good activation
Independent from the user's behavior or assessment

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MSA One-Click SFE

Analyzing wettability in a second with only one click



The automated premium solution for wetting and adhesion analysis of solids and liquids

Satisfied voice

The contact angle measuring instrument MSA is exactly tailored to our needs. The cooperation - especially the support during the learning phase - was excellent. Our software ideas were taken into account in the following updates. The annual maintenance, which also includes a consulting session at the customer's site, is a successful offer that Sika likes to use extensively.

Hans-Christoph Thielemann

Product Engineer, Sika


Free Whitepaper: Assessing activation with mobile contact angle technique

Download our Whitepaper now and learn how you can use modern technology for checking surface activation. Optimize your test procedures, get reliable results to evaluate product quality early, and save costs and time. Benefit from our long-term expertise in modern contact angle measurement.