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How the Advancement of Computed Tomography (CT) is Changing the Way We Analyze Munitions

In the Department of Defense (DoD) Computed Tomography (CT) has changed the way industrial radiography is being performed. Defense munitions are becoming more and more complex. With complex items, it is difficult to see everything that is needed in a 2D x-ray. CT has opened the door for 3-D analysis of those items. In 2D imaging with complex parts, everything can be superimposed on top of each other. If a defect is detected, it can be extremely difficult to determine where it rests in the item under test. CT provides true depth perception with items that in the past were only achievable with markers in front and back of the item. When an item has failed, there can be many contributing factors as to why the item failed. With CT, it allows us to analyze the item without ever having to take the object apart. This can be critical to determining the root cause of the failure. There is also much ground that has been gained in the field of micro imaging. In the days of film, it was very difficult to image small parts, especially if that part was a small piece of a larger assembly. Utilizing a microfocus tube head with CT, we can now analyze the weld of a detonator’s bridge wire that is .002 inch in diameter at 3 micron resolution. Whatever the application is, CT has now provided engineers with substantially more data that can be used in research and development, failure investigations, and surveillance of the U.S. military’s ordnance items.

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