3D X-ray microscopy (XRM) is a non-destructive imaging technique that provides internal three-dimensional (3D) information in extraordinary detail for specimens, samples, equipment and parts. It encompasses a range of length scales, down to the submicron scale, and generates manipulable data, enabling quantitative analysis of 3D microstructures that it would not be possible to visualise using standard X-ray tomography or microfocus X-ray.
A TWI NDT expert using the 3D X-ray microscopy equipment
This ability to deliver high resolution and contrast in three dimensions means that previously unseen features and flaws can be revealed in millimetres down to micrometres, as well as offering the opportunity to study samples in situ to examine how a microstructure changes over time, known as four-dimensional (4D) imaging.
As a result of these attributes, XRM is highly relevant to a number of industries – including oil and gas, aerospace, medical and electronics – because it is a flexible, in-depth analysis process that provides highly precise information.
TWI offers a bespoke 3D X-ray microscopy service managed by non-destructive testing experts who bring a wide range of practical experience across many sectors to clients’ projects, and use the latest state-of-the-art equipment for scanning, inspection, analysis and interpretation.
Characterisation of materials included additive manufactured
Observing the mechanics and performance of fractures in-situ
Inspection of ceramics, plastics, including weld samples, and metal deposition
Investigation of components, filters, metal joints, nozzles, polymer fibres, powders and more
4D / time-dependent tensile compression studies with temperature control / variation
Failure analysis and package construction analysis
Optimisation of manufacturing processes
Proof of concept demonstration
TWI uses superior, submicron X-ray imaging output data which is produced and manipulated in-house using the Zeiss Xradia Versa 520. This first-of-its-kind, compositional contrast system has a true spatial resolution of 0.7μm and a minimum voxel size of 70nm. Other high specification features include:
Accuracy to 160kV transmission nano-focus X-ray source
Industry-best resolution and contrast
Wide field mode and vertical stitching
High-aspect-ratio tomography (HART) mode for flat samples
Non-destructive interior tomography
Dorothee Panngabean, Project Leader in the Non-destructive Testing expanded on the service offered by TWI saying ‘The flexibility of 3D X-ray microscopy means that we have been able to provide assistance to clients such as batch scanning of components, confirmation of flaw location and/or issue in parts, assessment of fabrication efficiency between different manufacturing machines, and enhancement of the customer’s own X-ray capacity to enable more detailed assessment and prognosis.’