The Technology Strategy Board (now known as Innovate UK) has invested £1.25m in feasibility studies to bring emerging imaging technologies closer to commercial use.
The competition supports projects that could enable richer, more wide-ranging information to be gained from imaging, creating new applications and value propositions, with the potential to disrupt existing markets.
Our project is carried out with academic partner University of Warwick and investigates the extension of using digital volume correlation (DVC) in combination with images obtained by micro x-ray computed tomography (?XCT) to examine (a) manufacturing strains within composite materials and (b) strains within composites under loading. Implementation of DVC with ?XCT data is reaching maturity, whilst its application and validation has been largely restricted to compression of a trabecular bone. Little research has applied this emerging methodology to engineering materials, such as composites. Safety-critical composite components are frequently over-engineered with large safety factors as the pre-strain during manufacture is unknown and little is understood of the response under loading.
New and valuable information can be obtained from DVC analysis of high-resolution volumetric data from ?XCT, whilst a number of challenges remain. This includes the sequential scanning of samples at stages during their manufacture, where care is required to obtain reasonable geometric variations that can be detected by the DVC. Proving the viability of the technique to materials testing will be of significant benefit to the larger engineering community.