Innovation and Partnerships Office

High Temperature Strain Cell for X-ray Micro-tomography IB-2013-025

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

Testing advanced materials used for

  • next generation gas turbines
  • hypersonic aircraft
  • heat sheilds for space vehicles
  • other extremely high temperature applications

ADVANTAGES:

  • Maintains an in situ environment of up to 1750°C
  • Real time X-ray micro-tomography under tensile or compressive loads
  • 3D imaging with high spatial resolution ~1 µm/voxel

ABSTRACT:

Berkeley Lab scientist Alastair MacDowell and colleagues have developed a computed micro-tomography system for 3D X-ray imaging of materials to evaluate advanced materials that are being designed for extremely high temperatures.

Designed for real time observations using a synchrotron X-ray beamline, the High Temperature Strain Cell can provide quantitative imaging of failure events in materials under strain at temperatures as high as 1,750°C. Six hexapole infrared lamps focus inside the sample chamber onto a ceramic material sample with a spherical hot zone of diameter measuring approximately 5 mm. The top section of the instrument is a motorized linear drive assembly that provides tension or compression to samples held inside the chamber by two water-cooled grippers. Samples are rotated during a tomography scan that typically records 1,200 radiographs.

Gathering 3D images of damage evolution in extreme environments is important for the development of a new generation of materials that exhibit mechanical strength and toughness at high temperatures. To date this has proven to be a challenge. The High Temperature Strain Cell developed by the Berkeley Lab team makes it possible to observe and measure how small cracks forming inside a heated ceramic are restrained by its microstructure. These observations are essential to characterize the failure mechanisms in new materials. This in turn allows these new materials to be developed for a variety of sophisticated applications such as advanced gas turbines, hypersonic aircraft, and space reentry vehicles where high strength, high temperature materials are required in critical components.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE:  Bench-scale prototype

STATUS:  Patent pending.  Available for licensing or collaborative research.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Bale, H.A., Haboub, A., MacDowell, A.A., Nasiatka, J.R., Parkinson, D.Y., Cox, B.N., Marshall, D.B., Ritchie, R.O. “Real-time quantitative imaging of failure events in materials under load at temperatures above 1,600°C,” Nature Materials, Vol. 12, 40-46 (2013).

SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:

Automated Cryotomographic Stage for X-ray Microscopy, IB-1980

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2013-025