Applications of X-ray Microscopy for Polymer Analysis

Polymer composites have multiple current and potential industrial applications and are often superior to conventional materials. They are valued for their higher strength-to-weight ratios and their easily customizable product properties, as well as lower costs. Additive manufacturing (AM) methods utilize polymer composites in several industrial sectors, including aerospace, biomedical, construction, electronics, telecommunications, mechanical, and defense. The resources below provide some application examples in which micro-CT analysis has been utilized for polymer analysis.

Pore analysis of dental resin composites using 3D nanometer resolution. “Nano-CT as tool for characterization of dental resin composites,” Haugen, Håvard J. , Scientific Reports, 2020.

Nano-CT as tool for characterization of dental resin composites

Direct dental restorative resin-based composites have been used since the 1950s and polymer chemistry and material engineering have evolved significantly since then. Important developments have improved these materials but the dental restorative market is currently oversupplied with products of variable quality, thus 3D nondestructive analysis is important. “The benefits of using higher spatial image resolution in the evaluation of micro-hybrid and nano-hybrid restorative materials have been examined in this study, the outcomes for a nano-CT system (Skyscan 2211, at voxel size 450 nm) and a micro-CT system (Skyscan 1172, at the voxel size 1.90 µm) being compared and contrasted.”

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Effect of polymer binder on the mechanical and microstructural properties of pervious pavement materials

This study investigated pervious pavements composed of polyurethane and epoxy binders and the internal structures were quantitatively analyzed by micro-CT analysis. Mechanical properties and water permeability of specimens were measured, and the internal microstructure was characterized, including the pore size distribution, pore sphericity, anisotropic ratios of the pores, pore tortuosity, and aggregate sphericity. The study goal was to develop a model to predict material performance.

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Micro-CT analysis of process-induced defects in composite laminates using AFP

“Robotic manufacturing techniques using automated fiber placement (AFP) for aerospace and automotive applications present a growing trend toward error-free manufacturing.” AFP-manufactured laminates can have internal flaws, and fatigue during operation can cause internal damage. With the use of micro-CT to characterize global and local deformation-induced defects in AFP manufactured CFRP laminates, the goal of this study is to optimize process parameters, leading to higher quality laminates.

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Additive manufacturing of polymer nanocomposites: Needs and challenges in materials, processes, and applications

Polymer composites provide a higher strength-to-weight ratio, easily customizable product properties, flexible manufacturing processes, high resistance to corrosion or erosion, and lower cost, compared to conventional materials. However, there are some problems in the synthesis and fabrication of polymer composites. “This study aims to provide engineers and scientists with an updated understanding of the underlying issues, barriers, limitations, and opportunities. It will also help the reader to systematically reveal the research problems and future directions related to materials synthesis and AM processes.”

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Related Articles:

X-ray Microscopic Examination of Polymer Fractures in Shoes

Applications of Micro-CT for Tensile and Compression Testing

Micro-CT Examination of Additively Manufactured Parts

Micro-CT Applications for the New Bruker SkyScan 2214

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