A new CT (Computer Tomography) machine has been installed in the Materials Lab, which is already finding
multiple uses ranging from examining the effectiveness of needle-less syringes to the fracture behaviour of
Kevlar re-inforced concrete. A technique more commonly used for medical applications, computer tomography is
used to produce three dimensional images from multiple X-ray readings.
Alan Heaver explains:
"This equipment was built to our specification by X-Tek, initially so that we could examine the internal
failure mechanisms of metallic foams. The X-rays reveal components having different densities. We have a
large specimen chamber and we are developing techniques for in-situ dynamic testing. These tests can be
observed in real time using the X-Ray source, and we can build up a complete three dimensional model of a
specimen using a series of images. When the model is complete, it is possible to filter the information and
look at components of particular density. This is a very powerful technique, which could also be used for
imaging circuitry inside an electronic package for instance."
The example shown above (left) shows a concrete sample with a Kevlar fibre running through it. The CT image
next to it (centre) has been processed so that details of the fibre running through the sample, the voids in
the concrete and the plastic casing are all that can be seen. The right hand image is of an electronic
component. The X-ray image reveals details of the circuitry within the plastic casing.