Equipment

X-Ray Tomograppy EquipmentCurrently we operate two state-of-the-art μCT systems. Both operate using X-ray tomography processing and were designed in collaboration with X-Tek Group. The μSIMCT Laboratory is air-conditioned with a secure entrance facility.

Our first system is a bench-top high resolution (5 μm) system, capable of scanning medium sized (coke-can diameter) samples. With a 160 keV X-ray source and 12 bit CCD Camera we can examine a wide range of materials. This system has a purpose built environmental chamber where temperature and light are easily controlled.

Our second system, HMX, has a 225keV X-ray gun and can thus deal with most materials. In addition, rather than a CCD camera, the HMX utilises a flat panel detector that provides greater contrast between different materials (e.g. mineral Vs organic). The flat panel detector allows larger samples (i.e. 7 inches diameter) to be scanned. The HMX system has integrated air-conditioning. The HMX system was purchased with a Joint Equipment Grants by BBSRC, with the Scottish Crop Research Institute as collaborators and part funders.

Both systems utilise CT-Pro reconstruction software and VGStudioMax, the industrial standard for 3D visualisation. For precise quantification of 3D interior structures we utilise one of three SIMBIOS software products: SCAMP, SCT, MicroSoil. All three products are designed to produce a comprehensive fingerprint of internal structures of any material, providing information on:

  1. Porosity
  2. Pore connectivity
  3. Fractal geometry
  4. Pore size distribution

In addition we can isolate specific components of any material, including the identification of defects. μSIMCT equipment utilises it’s own server for reconstruction and a number of Dell Precision workstations for visualisation.

Once we have the 3D interior structure, we can then predict a range of functions including biological activity. Using Computational Fluid Dynamics code designed by Dr Xiao Xian Zhang (now at University of Liverpool), we are able to predict flow and retention properties of any material.

We can scan, reconstruct, image process & analyse of any material and predict its properties.

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