The DREAM Lab is a CFI-funded research laboratory currently located in MC305 at the University of Toronto. The DREAM Lab houses instruments related to surface fabrication/modification, surface characterization, and a suite of instruments for the modification and analysis of textiles. Please email the DREAM Lab Manager Dr. Anupama Pillai if you are interested in using the equipment.
Surface Fabrication Instruments
- Wet Chemistry Facilities
- Ultrasonic Probe Sonicator
- Laser Cutter
- Craft Cutter
- Oxygen Plasma Machine
- Dip Coater
- Film Applicator
- 3D Printer
Surface Characterization Tools
- 3D Laser Scanning Microscope
- Shear Ice Adhesion Instrument
- Tensile Ice Adhesion Instrument
- Centrifuge Ice Adhesion Instrument
- Contact Angle Goniometer
- Portable Goniometer
- Environmental Chamber (WVTR)
- Spectrophotometer (UV-vis)
- Parallel Plate Rheometer
- Laundering Machines
- Spray Rating Instrument
- Heated Fabric Press
- Fabric Padder
- Taber Abrasion
- Martindale Abrasion Instrument
- Air Permeability
The LEXT OLS5000 is the best interferometer in the world and our unit is one of two in all of Canada. The LEXT provides detailed surface topography statistics, imaging, and 3D height profiles with NIST-traceable precision and nm-scale resolution.
The Model 260 contact angle goniometer is equipped with a high speed camera, automatic tilting stage, liquid dispensing for water, hexadecane, and other fluids, and state-of-the-art software to accurately measuring advancing, receding, static, and roll-off angles, as well as surface tension and surface energy.
The lab is fully equipped with wet chemistry synthesis facilities including fume hoods, vacuum ovens, hotplate stirrers, degassing vacuum chamber, accurate weighing balance, vortexers, and ultrasonic baths.
The Dropmeter-S100 is a portable and intuitive contact angle goniometer. Utilizing a smartphone, LED backlighting, and a simple syringe holder, accurate contact angles can be measured in the field, in other laboratories, or within challenging environments such as the Canadian North.
Our custom-built, shear ice adhesion instrument measures the force necessary to dislodge ice adhered to surfaces. The instrument includes a closed-loop, water chilled Peltier stage that can reach -40 °C. The stage can accommodate samples up to 6 cm wide and 22 cm long. The design allows for high-throughput testing and hundreds of ice adhesion measurements can be collected in an hour. The instrument can also be used to measure the interfacial shear adhesion between materials other than ice, such as adhesives, polymers, foulants, and organisms. The OPERA Lab currently houses three of these shear-based instruments: a large load-cell ice adhesion setup, a small load-cell / high accuracy ice adhesion setup, and a non-ice adhesion setup for other foulants.
Our custom-built, normal ice adhesion instrument measures the force necessary to dislodge ice adhered to surfaces when applied in the normal direction. Similar to the shear-based setup, the instrument includes a closed-loop, water chilled Peltier stage that can reach -40 °C. The stage can accommodate samples up to 6 cm wide and 14 cm long. Optimized, finite-element modelled ice cube holders allow for an evenly distributed normal force to be applied to the ice-surface interface. Other normal-adhesion measurements beyond ice can be accommodated as well. For complete build instructions, we published the design and fabrication of this setup while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check it out here!
Spray Rating is an industrial metric for the water repellency of fabrics and textiles. Our setup conforms to AATCC standards and can rapidly determine the water repellency of coated textiles.
To apply a consistent finish to a textile, this custom fabric padder applies a uniform pressure in order to leave a precise amount of liquid remaining on the fabric.
To assess laundering durability of treated textiles, the lab is equipped with a Vortex M6 washer and the AATCC-certified Whirlpool dryer. Bath water volume, temperature, wash time, and rotation are all precisely controllable.
Our heated fabric press allows for novel surface finishes to be applied to fabrics with precisely controlled temperature and pressure.
Our Compact Film Applicator can uniformly apply liquid layers with micron-scale accuracy up to a length of 25 cm and a width of 10 cm. The speed of application is highly controllable and completely smooth. An adjustable micrometer applicator allows for films between 1 µm and 1 mm to be formed. The vacuum stage keeps substrates level and in place, and a closable heating cover allows for film curing up to 100 °C. Film thickness is verified using a Reed Instruments CM-8822 Coating Thickness Gauge for both ferrous and non-ferrous substrates.
We have a state-of-the-art Ultimaker 3 Professional 3D printer in our lab with a dozen different filaments, automatic levelling, multi-filament printing, and the Cura software package.
Our Ossila dip-coater can precisely and repeatedly apply a uniform film to a surface from a bath solution, at ambient or elevated temperature.
The Plasma Etch PE-25 is an oxygen plasma unit with 400W continuously variable power, vacuum pump, and capability for nitrogen, oxygen, air, and argon plasma treatment. The unit can accommodate 10 cm x 25 cm samples and can render surfaces hydrophilic in seconds.
The Cobb Absorbency Tester allows for the determination of Water Vapour Transmission Rate (WVTR) for paper, fabric, and other porous materials.
Our 5-station Martindale Abrasion Instrument allows for durability characterization of textiles and coated surfaces according to ASTM D4966 (amongst many other possible standards). Up to five different samples can be simultaneously abraded using different weights, abradents, and number of abrasion cycles.
To measure Water Vapour Transmission Rate (WVTR) through porous media (textiles and papers), we have an environmental chamber with constant humidity and temperature control. This allows us to conduct ASTM E-96 and similar industrial standards.
The AKUSTRON can measure air permeability through porous media with high precision, including both textiles and papers, according to ASTM D737. The instrument is handheld and portable for off-site and in-situ measurements.
The HunterLab Vista is a photo spectrometer that can measure transmission/reflection over the visible spectrum. It is specifically designed to measure coated samples but can also handle liquids.