Auburn University employs digital X-ray CT system for metal AM part inspection

August 14, 2019

Auburn University employs digital X-ray CT system for metal AM part inspection
An Auburn University researcher examines a 3D rendering of scans produced by the new X-ray CT system (Courtesy Auburn University)

The National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME), based at Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, Auburn University, Alabama, USA, is set to employ X-ray CT technology and specialised in-house-designed Additive Manufacturing systems for the in-process inspection of additively manufactured parts. An X-ray CT system was acquired by the college with the assistance of a $1.5 million grant from the US’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The new system incorporates a customised digital radiology vault from Pinnacle X-Ray Solutions, Inc., Suwanee, Georgia, USA, which accommodates Additive Manufacturing machines designed and built by the university’s researchers to fit within it. This enables the engineers and partners to conduct three-dimensional, non-destructive interrogation of mission-critical metal parts, as well as providing real-time monitoring of the AM process. The system is also able to confirm internal dimensions of structures and assess the quality of finished parts.

The NCAME was established in 2015 and conducts research, trains and educates graduate and undergraduate students, and develops and promotes technological innovations with the aim of advancing the Additive Manufacturing industry. NASA recently awarded Auburn University $5.2 million to develop AM processes and techniques for improving the performance of liquid rocket engines.

“It’s a real game-changer because while we’re building a component with additive, it’s difficult to monitor what’s happening,” stated Bart Prorok, Professor of Materials Engineering and Principal Investigator on the NIST grant. “With this new system, we can take two-dimensional X-ray pictures of a metal structure for real-time process monitoring or a series of 2D images in 360° of rotation that are then reconstructed into a 3D representation of the build.”

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As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 196-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Sintavia: New facility signals the move towards volume metal Additive Manufacturing for aerospace and defence
  • Thinking about metal Binder Jetting or FFF? Here is (almost) everything you need to know about sintering
  • Metal Binder Jetting and FFF: Considerations when planning a debinding and sintering facility for volume production
  • Velo3D: How a ‘support-free’ Laser Powder Bed Fusion process could remove roadblocks to serial Additive Manufacturing
  • New horizons for Additive Manufacturing in the oil, gas and maritime industries
  • Redesigned for Additive Manufacturing: Serial production of a new fuel swirler for Siemens gas turbine
  • Understanding metal powder requirements for Additive Manufacturing: Views from the industry
  • Towards a true digital twin for the metal Additive Manufacturing process
  • > More information

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