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The Application of X-Ray Computed Tomography in the Aerospace Industry

The main objective of this project is to identify how Computed Tomography (CT) can be employed for the benefit of the aerospace industry.

R&D teams within the aerospace industry are continuously considering new materials, processes and technologies while strict quality standards have to be met. Industrial CT technology is a growth field which is already being applied in numerous industrial sectors while it is still evolving. However, its application in the aerospace industry is currently limited due to the high standards that must be followed.

This project aims to identify the current state-of-the-art and limitations of existing CT systems and advance their utilisation for aerospace applications. Furthermore, it aims to identify and provide best practice guidance for several applications, such as Additive Layer Manufactured components and Carbon Fibre Composites.

The project will identify aerospace product inspection requirements where X-Ray Computed Tomography can add value and be a viable process for use in product development and/or production environments. This will be achieved through performing metrology and non-destructive testing (NDT) case studies on aerospace components, utilising the latest CT hardware and software, and the subsequent matching of capabilities and outputs to industry requirements.

To achieve this objective, the industry's inspection systems requirements are defined through interviews and the benefits and limitations of CT as an NDT and a metrological tool are identified through use of case studies. Finally, guidance will be provided at the end of this project for the aerospace industry to review the potential results of such a system.

There is a continuous knowledge transfer from this project to the company to support it through investigations. Case studies of machining processes, material development and supporting NDT guidelines have already reinforced processes and strategies of the partner company.