High Resolution 4D imaging of degradation and self-repair processes - Resources

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials

Abstract

Please see corresponding Capital grant - EP/J021229/1

It has long been true that our ability to 'see' has progressed hand in hand with our understanding of the world, from our understanding of the very distant (first telescopes to Hubble and the array telescopes) to the very minute (first microscopes to the high performance electron microscopes). X-ray tomography opens up not just 3D imaging but temporal changes too.
While X-ray imaging is advancing towards 10nm resolution at synchrotrons and we can image at 50nm in the lab., for engineering materials resolution is not an end in itself. We need to be able to image at the scales that control damage
nucleation while at the same time having samples large enough to be of engineering relevance. For example, in many cases samples need to be of millimetre, or larger dimensions, for crack behaviour to be representative of practical
behaviours (e.g. R-curve response), but the toughening mechanisms operate at the micron scale. This capital equipment project focuses precisely on this spatial regime, enabling us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab.

The new 3D x-ray imager will enable us to achieve a step jump in our ability to follow degradation and repair processes
over time (4D), including:
- Self-repairing ceramics and polymer composites
- Crack growth in tough hierarchical biomaterials and bio-inspired structures
- Coating evolution and sub-surface failure
- Charging and discharging of batteries and fuel cells.
These applications are important for lighter weight transport, producing energy more efficiently through higher enginer operating temperatures, and the move towards a more electric (lower CO2) economy.

Besides these specific studies the equipment will be made available to Uk academics 40% time (>240 days over 3 years). This will allow the improved imaging capability relative to what is already available in the Uk to be applied to a vefy wide range of appplications, from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scafolds.

Planned Impact

The project is closely aligned to EPSRC and technology strategy board strategy.

In Composites: it will be supporting the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (Bristol, Nottingham, Cranfield, Manchester), The National Composites Centre (Bristol, TSB) the Composite Certification and Evaluation Centre
(Manchester) through impact damage mapping in composites, defects in 3D woven composites and finally the study of self healing composites with the Creativity in Composites (Bristol) EPSRC programme grant. The Nuclear Advanced
Manufacturing research Centre (Sheffield/ Manchester) and the Rolls Royce UTC in Nuclear materials, The Research centre for Radwaste and Nuclear decommissioning by looking at degradation of stainless steels, the structure and failure of
concrete, the structure of graphite and the structure of fuel pellets.

With regard to energy: we are supporting activities looking at fuel cells and batteries (with Shearing UCL and Brandon, Imperial) linking up with the Imaging activity at the Research complex at Harwell (P/I02249X/1) to provide both synchrotron and lab x-ray imaging. Further we are linking with Blunt at imperial College to look at Oil extraction and CO2 sequestration in various geological materials as well as shale gas. All have the prospect of delivering significant energy and financial benefits. The project will also support the move towards greener transport: this project will be tightly linked to the Lightweight alloys Programme grant (EP/H020047/1). This will enable us to use their workshops and newsletters to disseminate our work into the aerospace industry in particular.

Tissue Regeneration: The new instrument would significantly boost our biomedical device and material development (working with imperial College and a number of small UK companies). Complementing our new synchrotron beamline (I13I
at Diamond Light Source) the new machine will aid the development of both soft tissue replacements (tendons, artificial skin) and hard tissue (teeth, joints, etc).
 
Description The purpose of this grant was to exploit the potential that X-ray tomography can provide by opening up not just 3D imaging but temporal changes too.

This capital equipment project has enabled us to focuses on a spatial regime, which enabled us to follow sub-micron microstructure evolution processes in 3D at timescales of tens of minutes in the lab.

The new 3D x-ray imager has enabled us to achieve a step jump in our ability to follow degradation and repair processes over time (4D), including:

- Self-repairing ceramics and polymer composites

- Crack growth in tough hierarchical biomaterials and bio-inspired structures

- Coating evolution and sub-surface failure

- Charging and discharging of batteries and fuel cells.

These applications are important for lighter weight transport, producing energy more efficiently through higher engineer operating temperatures, and the move towards a more electric (lower CO2) economy. We have worked towards guiding the design of new materials and components that can operate safely under increasingly harsh conditions. Predominately to facilitate the extraction of difficult to access oil and gas reservoirs, allow higher operating temperatures in aero engines and accelerate the move towards fourth generation nuclear power plant; all issues of critical importance to the UK economy.
Exploitation Route The equipment will continue to be made available to UK academics 40% time. This will allow the improved imaging capability relative to what is already available in the UK to be applied to a very wide range of appplications, from civil engineering through to food science, from device materials through to new bio-scafolds.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

 
Description 30 external academic projects which relates to 112 days of across seven of our XCT scanners and using our rigs 24 commercial projects which relates to 55 days of across four of our XCT scanners. Range of industries including oil/gas, pharmaceutical and aerospace. 85 internal UoM academic projects which relates to over 500 days across eight of our XCT scanners and using our rigs. 65 of these projects were on research grants (relating to 350 days of access) 20 of the these projects were students (relating to 160 days of access)
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Other
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description UK Research and Innovation Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDL Participated in UK Research and Innovation (implementing policy)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://blogs.bl.uk/living-knowledge/2018/05/uk-research-and-innovation-launched-at-the-british-libr...
 
Description UKRI Research Infrastructure Roadmap Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDL Participated in UKRI Research Infrastructure Roadmap Workshop (implementing policy) on 14 June
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018