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3D X-Ray Microscopy

3D x-ray microscopy (XRM) is a non-destructive testing (NDT) imaging technique that provides internal, three-dimensional (3D), highly precise information in extraordinary detail. XRM is able to deliver high resolution and contrast in 3D, which reveals previously unseen features and flaws in millimetres down to micrometres.

Tailored 3D x-ray microscopy – resources and capabilities

TWI offers a bespoke 3D x-ray microscopy service which is managed by NDT experts, who bring a wide range of practical experience across many sectors to clients’ projects. We use the latest state-of-the-art equipment for scanning, inspection, analysis, and interpretation.

TWI uses the Zeiss Xradia Versa 520, which has the following high-specification features:

  • Generates sub-micron x-ray imaging output data which TWI produces and manipulates in-house
  • Compositional contrast system
  • A true spatial resolution of 0.7µ
  • Minimum voxel size of 70nm
  • Accuracy to 160kV transmission nano-focus x-ray source
  • Industry best resolution and contrast
  • Wide field mode and vertical stitching
  • High-aspect-ratio tomography (HART) mode for flat samples
  • Non-destructive interior tomography

Benefits of 3D x-ray microscopy

  • Internal 3D information for specimens, samples, equipment and parts, without opening the sample
  • Encompasses a range of length scales, down to the submicron scale, depending on the size of the sample
  • Generates data that can be manipulated to enable quantitative analysis of 3D microstructures, which neither x-ray tomography or micro-focus x-ray can visualise
  • Opportunity to study samples in-situ to examine how a microstructure changes over time, also known as four-dimensional (4D) imaging

Applications for 3D x-ray microscopy

Due to XRM’s flexible, in-depth analysis process that provides highly precise information, it is highly relevant to a number of industries, including: oil and gas, aerospace, medical and electronics. Other applications include:

  • Characterisation of materials including additive manufactured materials
  • Observing the mechanics and performance of fractures in-situ
  • Inspection of ceramics, plastics and metal depositions, including weld samples
  • Investigation of components, filters, metal joints, nozzles, polymer fibres, powders and more
  • 4D/time-dependent tensile compression studies with temperature control/variation
  • Failure analysis and package construction analysis
  • Optimisation of manufacturing processes
  • Proof of concept demonstration

The flexibility of 3D x-ray microscopy means that TWI has been able to provide assistance to clients with projects such as batch scanning of components, confirmation of flaw location and/or issue in parts, assessment of fabrication efficiency between different manufacturing machines, and enhancement of the customer’s own x-ray capacity to enable more detailed assessment and prognosis.


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