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The University of Southampton
nC2 An Enterprise Consultancy Unit

Use of CT in failure analysis

Computed Tomography is a tool very much suited to failure analysis. It is a non-destructive volume imaging technique and allows virtual examinations to take place, while the evidence under examination remains undisturbed. The technique can be applied to most situations e.g. metallic and non-metallic, fibrous, smooth and irregular shaped components.

Debris lodged against the spring

The key capabilities for failure analysis work are the determination of:

• Condition or state of the subject (is an internal spring depressed?)

• Foreign/hidden object identification (reverse engineering mechanisms)

• Fracture and failure (internal cracks and deformations)

Below are two videos recreating the virtual examinations made during an investigation of failed marine engine injectors on behalf of BAE Systems Naval Ships. The first shows how by scanning the entire injector we were able to understand the internal mechanisms of the component without destructive sectioning, which could have led to loss of evidence. The second video highlights the revealed debris lodged against the spring preventing its movement and therefore the operation of the engine cylinder. Subsequent destructive examination (directed by the CT images) allowed the successful retrieval of the debris as shown in the last figure.



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