Led by John Giffin

xrayUsing x-rays to detect flaws in a metal part is a common form of non-destructive evaluation (NDE). This project involves conversion of the current film standards to digital standards, thereby reducing cost and improving accuacy.

NDE of a casting during qualification and production is currently expensive and time consuming.  In a typical single safety critical casting, 157 sheets of film are used during inspection.  At $2/sheet, that’s $314 in film for a single part, not including time, labor, or storage. On a yearly basis a single aerospace qualified foundry will consume more radiographic film than a very large metropolitan hospital. Digital radiography technology is becoming increasingly available as an in-house inspection tool for metalcasting quality assessment. However, without accepted digital reference standards, digital radiography cannot be used to certify a part.

UAB is working with ManTech and the American Metal Casting Consortium (AMC) to develop ASTM digitalradiography standards.  Standards for cast aluminum (E2422) and investment cast steel (E2660) have already been completed, and the standard for thin wall steel (up to 2" thinkness) estimated to be finished by January 2013.

       Digital radiography also lowers the cost of
                 critical items like munitions.
These new digital standards will reduced  radiographic inspection times by as much as 90% (~12 minutes vs. 2-3 hours) and eliminate the cost of film processing and storage, which can be 5% of the total cost of the casting.  They are also more reliable, with an increased probability of detecting flaws of 97%, up from only 85% using the older method.