Engineering systems continuously interact with nano-sized particles coming from natural or artificial sources. Considering nano-sized contaminants the detrimental effects are known as soiling and fouling phenomena. The objective of the present work is to gather morphological and three-dimensional quantitative information of discontinuities such as voids and pores within the nano-sized particle layer and in correspondence to the substrate/layer interface using microtomography. Deposits are obtained through impact tests using fine powder (soil and soot), and there are realized on a low-density material substrate characterized by different surface roughness values. The packing process and the discontinuities at the substrate-to-layer interfaces explain macroscopic effects as detachment and spallation but at the same time, give the possibility to understand more in detail the process related to the deposition mechanisms involved in this type of test defining general guidelines to predict the fouling phenomenon and to improve the capability of the removal process.
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