Non-destructive Characterization: Quantitative X-ray Computed Technology

National Laboratory: 
Idaho National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Non-destructive examination
Computational Tools Class: 

Idaho National Laboratory has a variety of X-ray imaging systems capable of non-destructive three-dimensional (3D) imaging of objects and materials. These systems vary significantly in size and energy, allowing for a range of applications—from industrial to military to fundamental materials science. To complement its 3D imaging capabilities, INL has developed a suite of 3D analysis methodologies to quantitatively assess internal structures visible through X-ray computed tomography (CT). Past analyses have included density mapping to assess depth of corrosion damage, pore network mapping, and particle size and shape distributions, as well as spatial mapping of particle packing fraction within a carbonaceous matrix formed using a compaction process. These types of analyses provide invaluable quantitative feedback to customers about the impact of processing on internal structure.

Capability Bounds: 

INL has an array of X-ray CT capabilities for imaging materials on length scales between 10-6 m to 100m. For detailed information, please contact INL’s capability expert. INL currently has two custom-built microX-ray CT systems. The primary system employs a large, walk-in X-ray cave. Therefore, the experimental setup is highly customizable. This system is capable of accommodating custom experimental apparatuses for in situ investigations of mechanical, thermal, and corrosion properties in harsh environments. The secondary system is a high-energy microX-ray CT system within a custom cabinet, modified to accommodate high aspect ratio materials (long and narrow).

Unique Aspects: 
  • INL microX-ray CT systems can accommodate diverse geometries, as well as in situ experimental apparatuses.
  • Quantitative analysis capabilities were built around INL High Performance Computing resources. This allows very large X-ray CT reconstructions on the order of 3300×3300×3300 voxels with 16-bit depth to be quantified on a routine basis.
    • Typical quantitative analysis examines much smaller sub-volumes (~500×500×500 voxels).
  • INL has developed portable X-ray imaging systems capable of interrogating objects in the field.
  • INL X-ray CT data can be viewed in an immersive environment using INL’s Computer-Assisted Virtual Environment (CAVE) within the Applied Visualization Laboratory.

INL capabilities are accessible via U.S. Department of Energy programs or Work for Others agreements.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Joshua Kane
Phone: 208-526-5488

  1. J. J. Kane, I. J. van Rooyen, A. E. Craft, T. J. Roney, S. R. Morrell, Evaluating Quantitative 3-D Image Analysis as a Design Tool for Low Enriched Uranium Fuel Compacts for the Transient Reactor Test Facility: A preliminary study, Nuclear Engineering and Design, 300 (2016).
  2. Initial Assessment of X-ray Computed Tomography Image Analysis for Material Defect Microstructure, Level 2 External Report, Idaho National Laboratory, INL/EXT-14-32951 (2016).
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