AFRL has modern infrastructure, Enhanced Computed Tomography Lab with Imaging Capability > Air Force > Article display | So Good News


The Accelerated Materials and Processing Solutions division arranged the tour to highlight an extensive renovation of its facility, which includes a computed tomography, or CT, machine. This includes building a brand new kit to safely house the machine and spare parts. CT refers to a form of computed tomography that can be used to detect potential flaws in spacecraft materials for weathering and resistance.

“What kind of highlight was the lab tour? [materials and processing] Lessons learned and the new Computed Tomography Lab are being applied to safely accelerate emerging and integrated manufacturing technologies into future weapons systems,” said Jeff Stricker, Division Head of Accelerated Materials and Processing Solutions. Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is the process of building an object one layer at a time.

The directorate also held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory to recognize recent major infrastructure improvements within both facilities under one funding source.

At an informal reception following the tour, Pringle praised staff for working together to bring new technical talent to the directorate.

“I can tell you all have a strong working relationship,” Pringle said. “You’re family.”

Project Engineer Matthew Geis of the Engineering Services and Support Division and Steve Thompson, Senior Materials Engineer of the Construction Materials Evaluation Section, have overseen since inception.

“We are proud to bring this facility into the 21st century,” said Thompson. “These changes will allow us to do our job better and more efficiently.”

roughly $4.5 million; The 6,600-square-foot building renovation project, covered by Flex-4 funding, is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 2. The Department of Defense has provided Flex-4 funding to enable unique research capabilities within its laboratories. Approximately $1 million in additional AFRL funding funded an additional computed tomography machine.

“If you ever go to the doctor and get a CT scan to look for a broken bone, That’s what this machine is essential for,” Thompson said. “It looks for potential flaws in the quality of the material.”

“Computed tomography provides high-resolution 3D reconstruction of X-ray image data to identify and measure internal geometry, defects, manufacturing errors and failure modes,” said John Brausch, AFRL, a process technologist specializing in rapid materials and forming technology. “The technology is critical for assessing the quality and integrity of materials with the goal of accelerating technology solutions for the warfighter.”

Originally the CT plant had only one machine, but the second unit added many new capabilities.

“It allows us to examine larger and smaller components and adds different scanning options,” said Ryan Mooers, a nondestructive evaluation engineer who designed the new CT suite.

AFRL chose to build a new CT room for the additional machine in the existing space.

“We want to protect two of our most valuable assets in a climate-controlled environment,” Thompson said. “The new room has its own heating system, its own cooling system.”

Existing laboratory space is between 85% and 90% operational throughout construction.

“By building the chamber, we can ensure that both machines are in the same place and provide a common location to bring parts,” Mooers said. “The room also provides protection and environmental control for the units. [noise] sealed.”

An additional benefit of the kit—besides cost savings for the Air Force—is that it requires less manpower. One controller is now close to each other so two machines can be operated simultaneously.

Thompson explained that the Accelerated Materials and Processing Solutions division conducts mechanical testing of aerospace-grade materials in several ways, not through non-destructive CT testing. to be considered worthy of the wind; Manufactured parts must meet very high standards of non-destructive and negative qualities.

“What we’re doing is like a big puzzle. We’re trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together and make it work,” Thompson said. “We look at the active circulation of things. We guarantee ventilation. Product quality is the goal.”

Although non-destructive testing can identify potential defects in materials and test for strength capability. Destructive testing, in contrast, Determines the point at which a component or item fails. Engineers manipulate materials to better understand how the material’s physical properties respond under pressure and force. Different destructive test methods are used to deform or destroy.

Thompson noted that the lab renovations and integration of the new CT machine and suite are part of a major effort to push the current facility into the future beyond the World War II era.

Geis, who supported the building’s redesign efforts and managed the renovation project, maintains world-class research and design work with the brightest minds; He said there is a need for modern equipment and programs and modern infrastructure.

“With the median age at RX approaching 60, we’re seeing more and more that infrastructure is a limiting factor for research,” Geis said. “Staying relevant requires swift and responsive reinvestment efforts like this one.”

To that end, Geis gave the building brand new floors, ceilings, He explained that it had been renovated with lights and fresh paint.

“It allows us to do our mission in a slightly better environment,” he says. Thompson says that awareness can translate to higher levels of creativity and job satisfaction.

For Thompson, who initially started at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate in January 1985 as a cooperative education intern. The completion of the upcoming project is a personal achievement.

“It’s an example of leaving a place a little better than I found it,” said Thompson, who plans to retire next year.


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