About Us



Clarity, quality, timeliness, innovation, discovery, creativity, and continuous improvement in education and research. 


WPI's Surface Metrology Laboratory was founded in 1990 by Professor Christopher Brown who has more than twenty-five years of experience working in surface metrology in the US and Europe. It is the only academic laboratory in the US dedicated to advancing the understanding of the formation, behavior, measurement and analysis of surface roughness.

The lab has been a significant source of innovations and discovery and it enjoys a worldwide reputation for contributing to breakthroughs in the understanding of the role of surface roughness in adhesion and friction. Brown and the lab's associate director, Toby Bergstrom, are members of ASME B-46 committee on surface textures and develop national and international standards for surface metrology.

The lab has pioneered technological development and industrial applications of scale-sensitive fractal analyses, a method invented and patented by Prof. Brown and co-workers. The lab has studied a broad range of surfaces including hard drives, cutting tools, skin, teeth, food, rocks, skis, pills, pavements, tires, bullets, and industrial diamonds. The lab has developed advanced techniques for differentiating surfaces based on texture measurements and for finding the scales at which the differentiation can be made.

Graduate and undergraduates typically work together on a variety of projects. Recent projects include characterizing scratches on teeth supported by the NSF, surface of pill compacts supported by Pfizer, fractography of chocolate, and the structure of ground ski bases. Current projects include the measurement of paper, granite and grinding wheels, and the determination of uncertainty, and noise control and management in surface measurements. 


The challenges facing industry in the field of surface metrology can best be met through collaborative efforts with academic researchers. The partnership between the WPI Surface Metrology Laboratory and industry promotes a collaboration, where academic researchers and industrial practitioners can share and test ideas through research in both environments. The Surf Met Lab's objective will be met through the successful utilization of industrial and academic resources. 


Over the past ten years we have had many interesting applications and collaborations with labs in the US, Canada, Europe and Chile.  Frequently Surf Met Lab supports the surface measurement and analysis, while the collaborators make experimental measurements in their labs. 


Human Resource Goals

 Funding Goals


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Last modified: May 18, 2009 13:20:47