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PSI simplifies quality control of composites

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have improved a method for small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to such an extent that the inside of composites can also be recorded with beams from conventional X-ray tubes. It is also quicker than the existing method.

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Matias Kagias (left) and Marco Stampanoni in front of the apparatus with which they examined the composites using the newly developed X-ray method. Image Credit: Paul Scherrer Institute/Mahir Dzambegovic

The PSI explains in a press release that the small angle X-ray scattering is used to record the structure of composites. The properties of these materials depend to a large extent on how the fibers contained in them are aligned. Conventional X-ray methods have the disadvantage that it can take hours to examine a sample in the necessary resolution.

A group of researchers at the PSI and the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a more practical method for angle X-ray scattering. “This makes it possible to detect multiple local scattering patterns that reflect the spatial inner structure of a sample with only one X-ray shot, enabling us to take a large number of consecutive images”, says Matias Kagias, the inventor of the method and a postdoctoral researcher in the PSI X-ray tomography group.

The method developed by Kagias and his research colleagues can also be used with conventional X-ray tubes. Previously, x-rays from accelerators such as the synchrotron Swiss Light Source (SLS) at the PSI were required to x-ray composites. “It is expected that this novel approach will find practical applications in medical devices and non-destructive testing as well as the area of homeland security”, explains Marco Stampanoni, head of the PSI X-ray tomography research group.

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