Table of contents:
- Find air pockets with CT
- Detect fiber orientation
- See atomic structure of substances
- What is X-ray diffractometry?
- Knowledge is a competitive advantage
- X-rays in mechanical engineering
Video: What Role X-rays Play In Industry
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
Exactly 125 years ago, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the rays named after him - he was experimenting on cathode rays at the time when he noticed a glowing piece of paper in his laboratory: the paper was coated with a material that glowed under ultraviolet light and under cathode radiation. The "X-rays", as he called his discovery, could penetrate soft matter and soon led to a breakthrough in medical diagnostics.
What is less well known: Even today, industry still benefits from the rays. Whether tests on high-tech plastics for vehicles, the analysis of crystal lattices in metal alloys or the testing of tools: X-ray screening is an indispensable tool for quality assurance and the development of innovations. Depending on the area of application, various methods are used in industrial research.
Find air pockets with CT
While classic X-rays, for example, take bones from two directions or planes, industrial research makes use of other methods such as computer tomography (CT), which is also common in medicine, in which hundreds of images from a wide variety of directions create a three-dimensional image. For example, air pockets in metals or plastics become visible.
Detect fiber orientation
"With the X-ray CT, we can illustrate the alignment of glass fibers in composite materials, which in turn allows conclusions to be drawn about properties such as the stability of materials and joint connections," explains Heinrich Leicht, CT expert at the plastics center in Würzburg (SKZ).
“The material contrast in the CT images allows fibers to be represented in volume. Algorithms support us in the quantification and visualization of fiber orientation, for example in false color representations,”explains Leicht. The knowledge gained in this way provides valuable information, for example for the vehicle or for the construction industry, where high-quality plastics, often combined with glass fiber, for example, are an important material.
See atomic structure of substances
While X-ray CT uses the different structure of elements in the atomic nucleus to display structures, X-ray diffractometry even reveals the atomic structure of substances.
What is X-ray diffractometry?
The arrangement of the atoms in a crystal structure can be determined using X-ray diffractometry. This makes use of the fact that X-rays are deflected - diffracted - at planes densely packed with atoms, since X-rays, like other electromagnetic waves, also have the same diffraction phenomena as light.
Take carbon, for example: as diamond, it is one of the hardest known substances, but as graphite it is a popular lubricant. Of course, the differences in crystal structure are not always as obvious as in carbon.
"This applies to many metals and their compounds, such as the economically very important aluminum oxide with its - depending on the crystal structure - very high wear resistance," explains Dr. Andreas Richter from the Research Institute for Precious Metals and Metal Chemistry (FEM). The atomic structure of the connections is often decisive for their suitability as surface material in high-tech applications, for example in the electrical or automotive industry. "At FEM we are doing research, for example, on new coatings for more efficient fuel cells, facades for nitrogen degradation or investigating reactions inside batteries," explains Richter.
Knowledge is a competitive advantage
Stay up to date: With our newsletter, the editors of the construction practice informs you every Tuesday and Friday on topics, news and trends from the industry.
X-rays in mechanical engineering
The Research Association for Tools and Materials (FGW) from Remscheid shows how X-ray radiation can be used specifically in machine and tool construction. Take a circular saw, for example: “When producing good saw blades, a lot depends on the correct introduction of tension and compression. Only the right tensions allow the tool to run smoothly and smoothly,”explains FGW department head Dr. Christian Pelshenke.
His research team measures such tensions by letting X-rays penetrate the metal tools and measuring the behavior of the rays. The result is a curve diagram on the monitor, from which statements about the dynamic properties of components can be derived.