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Inspecting complex aerospace parts with X-ray CT

by Morgane on 13 Dec 2021 at 13h56
The aerospace industry encounters several product quality problems because of the complexity of the parts used. From turbine blades, pitot tubes, cast parts to electronic sensors, the challenges are numerous and the industry is very demanding of improving part quality as security is crucial. For any shape or form of aerospace parts, X-ray CT is effective to check-in product quality, develop improved parts by taking into account security, waste reduction, environmentally friendly materials and most importantly inspecting without destroying the part.

X-ray CT offers fast & accurate inspections for aerospace components 

The major advantage of X-ray CT is the non-destructive approach. Indeed, for the aerospace industry, not needing to cut or modify a part in order to scan it, is a very important feature to look into damages of the internal vent holes drilled inside a turbine blade for example. This aspect is critical in the aerospace industry since the parts are frequently very expensive thus destructive testing is not an option. It also enables component conformity before launching high-cost manufacturing processes. 
In comparison to other industrial sectors, aerospace incorporates the most critical components. Be it landing gears, wing parts, cast parts… in order for these parts to perform safely and accurately X-ray CT provides a better understanding of aerospace applications. 
When inspecting complex aerospace components, X-ray CT offers a shorter inspection time all while delivering accurate results. In addition, key aspects should not be overlooked when scanning a part with X-ray CT such as part size, geometry, part material, and thickness. All these factors, have to be identified in order to see better and know more.
As a very flexible technology - more details here - X-ray CT offers a full adaptation of the scanning setup and process to your needs. Scan and inspection automation is also possible, whether it is for the setup with sampling loaders or the post-processing steps. While the data storage is legally monitored for the aerospace industry, X-ray CT provides easy data archiving for the completed scans. 

Diverse results for diverse components 

For aerospace components, X-ray CT is used to find porosities in a 3D model of a part and provide information on the volumes of the various defects. The magnitude of flaws that may be identified is determined by the scan resolution, which is influenced by the component size, geometry, and material, as mentioned above. There are also advanced scanning techniques and strategies that can be used to achieve higher resolution and greater image quality.
Further analyses can be executed with X-ray CT for aerospace components, such as: nominal to actual comparison (comparison between CAD nominal and CT scanned data to visualize deviations), wall thickness analyses (determination of material thickness to ensure mechanical strength and weight), fiber length and orientation (understand composite parts behavior used in the aerospace industry)…

Benefits of inspecting aerospace components with X-ray CT  

-   Non-destructive technique to avoid losing key information by cutting the parts 
-   X-ray CT is independent from the sample complexity and offers accurate results for any parts’ shape or form… 
-   Simple operations with fast scans save cost and time 
-   Early defect detection saves costs, ensures security, reduces waste, and warranty & reclaim issues 
-   Inspection for various aerospace components from cast parts to composites 
With more and more components having complex multi-material structures, finding out whether a part is reliable and achieves conformity restrictions is difficult with traditional testing methods. That is why for aerospace components, X-ray CT offers new inspection alternatives as an all-in-one non-destructive technique representing a 3D model with greater image quality – all while being fast, accurate and automatic.