Contact: John Passero
1-800-220-3675 ext. 3604
Used in a medical setting, X-rays are familiar to most people, but higher power X-rays are also put to use as an inspection tool to document internal structures and measure parts in a variety of industries. The ability of X-rays to penetrate most materials, only being absorbed by relatively dense materials, allows for the inside of a material to be examined without destroying or damaging it. In fact, magnifications possible with a modern industrial X-ray system allow for the examination of everything from fine sub-millimeter wires in electronic devices to an entire rotor blade assembly or motor.
X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) is a more advanced technique. It combines the examination of a series of X-ray images projected through a single sample at varying angles to create a complete view of the object. These images are then computationally back-projected to model a three-dimensional (3D) representation of the original sample, allowing for all of the varying materials to be modeled and examined. With a high-resolution micro-CT scanner and advanced software modeling, features less than five microns in size can be reliably examined.
Examining a sample in 3D is a uniquely powerful capability that also facilitates other analysis methods. Manufactured parts can be compared against known CAD plans or parts from different lots. Wall thickness, cell size, grain size and fiber orientation can all be examined. It is also an exceptionally useful tool for examining internal voids in cast parts or inclusions in ceramics or polymer materials. X-ray CT can even benefit failure analysis by allowing specific features to be more precisely targeted for mechanical sectioning or for virtual cross sections to be examined from the CT data. The high-density, high-precision output available with CT analysis means samples can be directly imported for meshing and analysis using finite element analysis (FEA) or other computational methods. X-ray inspection and 3D CT provide the precision and detail for samples as varied as micro-electronics to hammer forged, high-strength mechanical parts.