For safety-critical components, it is important to know if voids or inclusions are present in metal 3d-printed parts. X-ray computed tomography offers a look.
Metal additive manufacturing is being increasingly considered for lowering component weight without compromising strength, particularly in aerospace applications where decreased weight leads to increased efficiency. For safety-critical aerospace components, however—as well as for similarly critical automotive, energy and medical components—it is essential to know whether voids or inclusions are present in the AM part, how large they are (both individually and in total), and where they occur, as well as whether the dimensions of the part conform to those of the design.
In such cases, X-ray computed tomography (micro CT) is a powerful answer. By supplying a full 3D density map of the samples, micro CT gives all this information in an easy-to-read visual format.
Conventional manufacturing provides an analogy for why this inspection is valuable. Using conventional manufacturing techniques, one would always inspect a weld for voids and inclusions. Consider that, in metal additive manufacturing, the entire sample is essentially one large weld.
3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, News