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10 Frequently Asked Questions about X-ray CT

by William on 21 Jul 2021 at 08h32

X-ray Computed Tomography has emerged as the most common and innovative non-destructive 3D imaging technique. Widely used in many sectors, such as materials research and industrial components & assemblies, X-ray CT offers the possibility of viewing internal & external features of parts in detail. 

Hereby 10 Frequently Asked Questions about X-ray CT, to give you a comprehensive summary of this technology:

1. When can I use X-ray CT?

X-ray computed tomography is the best technology to get a fast, non-destructive and detailed examination of structures such as the internal and external sides, industrial or assemblies. With just a quick CT scan, every structural and dimensional aspect of a workpiece can be assessed through a simple CT dataset. Long story short, you can use it in every step of your product life cycle whether it is to develop a new assembly/product or to detect defaults in your parts, X-ray CT remains the most polyvalent non-destructive technology in the industry to improve your product.

2. Where is X-ray CT mostly used?

X-ray CT is used in many sectors such as industrial and academic research. In the industrial sector, X-ray CT can be used for product development (R&D, engineering, etc.), production, and quality control (production, failure analysis, etc.). Whereas in the academic sector, X-ray CT is mostly used by research centers, universities, etc. for materials science, life science, geology, paleontology, and many more.

3. How do I know if my part is "scannable"?

Here you need to take into account 2 important characteristics of the part: we start by the physical aspect - smaller samples and more localized areas of interest will result in higher resolution data sets, then we consider its composition - the density of the sample is crucial because we don’t need the same X-ray power to penetrate the material of a plastic bottle compared to a gold ring for example.

4. How much time does a scan take?

As said above about parts’ characteristics, an X-ray CT scan can take from 2 minutes to several hours. It really depends on what you are looking for in your part and the X-ray CT setup required with it. It can take 30 minutes to detect a simple crack and where exactly it is located or experiment with your assembly issues in different conditions and many hours to scan materials at very high resolution.

5. Can I scan multiple parts at once?

Multiple parts can easily be inspected in a single scan. Depending on the volume and density of the part, you can scan multiple parts at once can be positioned on the same sample holder and scanned in a single scan. The last scanning step, post-processing, automatically separates the different parts.

6. Can I automate X-ray CT scans?

With X-ray CT, automation is always possible by adding a sample loader. X-ray CT systems equipped with such loaders can scan multiple parts without operator intervention needed in automatic scan overnight for 24/7 operation mode.

7. How to scan a part with X-ray CT?

The working principle is pretty simple, as explained in this article. Basically, in X-ray CT, two steps are required: acquisition – the part is exposed to the X-ray source which captures 2D X-ray images repeatedly in 360 degrees and reconstruction – all the 2D X-ray images of the acquisition process are then reconstructed in 3D rendering allowing a thorough analysis of the parts’ internal and external features.

8. What can I see in a reconstructed image?

First things first, in X-ray CT, image reconstruction is an imaging process where, after scanning your part, a complex and powerful algorithm will automatically generate a 3D virtual volume of your part that has been scanned. This step takes only a few seconds then you can directly work on the rendering, travel across your sample, look for defects, check assemblies, localize cracks…

9. How to increase the image quality of the reconstructed images?

Many parameters have an influence on image quality, and we have made it easy to manage these parameters with our X-Act tomography software. This software, which takes care of the entire process, offers intuitive and ergonomic management of these different factors: averaging, number of images, calibration, acquisition mode, and artifact correction during reconstruction, among others.

10. Do I need to be an expert to use an X-ray CT system for my product?

It depends on your system and the vendor you’re working with. RX Solutions CT systems are designed to improve user experience and make performance easy with X-ray CT. Little training is required to use the CT equipment. As our CT users have different expectations and requirements, we tailored our systems ergonomics to facilitate its usage and programmed software with 3 interfaces: Expert mode, Guided acquisition and Wizard mode. This in-house software streamlines the complete CT workflow, from the CT setup to the CT reconstruction. Thanks to X-Act software, it only takes only a few clicks to start a scanning process, whatever the sample.