Neutron Radiography Developments Within the Dept. of the Army

Since 2007 the radiographic lab within the Army Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), (located at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ) has been working on standing up a viable neutron radiographic (NR) capability. For the past five years this lab has been trying to bridge the technology gap that has limited this nondestructive testing (NDT) method. Within the military services and the commercial world, practical use of NR without the aid of nuclear reactors, and research accelerator facilities has been nearly impossible over the last few decades. The inability of several factors including: lack of facilities that can handle items that are defense related or sensitive in nature, the issues of logistically planning, leasing, and shipping to and from such sites, and only having a limited number of high yielding neutron sources available, has pushed the Army to investigate new approaches to this inspection method. With the help of the small business innovation research (SBIR) program, the ARDEC radiographic lab in collaboration with two outside contractors has brought two state-of-the-art neutron generators online. These generators use the deuterium-deuterium (D-D) fusion reaction and are expected to produce high enough neutron yields to make NR feasible in the laboratory and low rate production environment. Both of these systems were designed around several factors including: the ability to be used by single individuals or small teams, robustness for industrial use, have a significant neutron output in comparison to past designs, and to have lifetimes that equal current x-ray technology. The first of these two systems has been brought online for testing in December 2012, and this presentationpaper will present some of the progress made in neutron imaging during 2013, along with the benefits it can bring to future NR inspection technologies. The second system has been brought online for testing in August 2013, and this presentationpaper will also present some of the progress made in neutron imaging during the latter half of 2013. A brief overview of the differences and added advantages of both systems will be presented as well.

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