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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N009991/1
Title: Metrological industrial x-ray computed tomography system
Principal Investigator: Leach, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Ratchev, Professor SM Tendler, Professor S Hague, Professor RJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Division of Manufacturing
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 September 2015 Ends: 31 August 2020 Value (£): 0
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Design & Testing Technology Materials Processing
Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Jun 2015 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The ability to holistically and accurately measure the external and internal dimensions of an object is a Holy Grail that has now become a reality. Traditionally, manufactured components have been measured using contact or, more recently, optical measurement systems, but such systems can be slow when taking a high-density point cloud of information and cannot access internal features. X-ray computed tomography (XCT) is widely known for its use in medical scanning but, with the development of compact, high-energy x-ray sources, XCT is now being used to measure engineering components. However, most XCT systems have been designed for detecting defects and to essentially image an object, not necessarily to extract accurate dimensional information. Recently, a number of XCT manufacturers have developed metrological XCT systems - these are designed to be highly stable and allow the extraction of dimensional information from the XCT image data. This stability and accuracy is essential when using XCT to assess tolerances and dimensional information during manufacture. Currently, there is a metrological XCT at the National Physical Laboratory, where they are carrying out the research necessary to achieve measurement traceability for industrial XCT. The proposed system will be based in the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham and will be focused on manufacturing research. How can we use the system to enhance manufacturing, to improve inspection technologies, to develop new functionalities in a product and to increase levels of innovation?

The University of Nottingham is one of the global leaders in advanced manufacturing and has particular capability around precision, additive and composite manufacture. Additive manufacturing is predicted as the next revolution in manufacturing and this is primarily because it allows a large degree of design freedom - often not possible with conventional (subtractive) manufacturing. This freedom allows the use of internal features with complex geometries, which in turn lead to new functionalities, such as lighter weight or increased strength. To be able to make full use of this design freedom and to control the manufacture of components with complex internal features, a suitable measurement infrastructure needs to be in place, and XCT will be a critical part of this.

The XCT system proposed will be accessible by academia and industry, but is not primarily to be for service provision. Priority will be given to innovative research; both in how to make use of the system in a manufacturing environment and how to improve the metrological performance of the instrument. There is scope to use the large amount of information that is available from the design stage (e.g. CAD data) to significantly enhance the dimensional metrology capability in terms of both spatial (more information) and temporal bandwidth (less time for measurement). XCT is a revolutionary tool for manufacturing research and, with the inclusion of metrological principles into its design, will lead to a step-change in both how we make things and what we make.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk