Phoenix LLC has developed, demonstrated, and deployed accelerator-based neutron generators for several applications that require neutron interrogation such as neutron radiography, neutron detector calibration, nuclear fuel quality assurance, and explosives and SNM detection, all of which are unique in their own technique of non-destructive testing. Of particular interest is neutron radiography, which is a very useful non-destructive imaging technique that aims to identify defects in materials where X-ray, ultrasound, Eddy-current testing, etc. will not suffice due to limiting densities, material composition and surface imperfections. Phoenix’s goal is to use its technology to acquire high-quality neutron radiographs, in a duration comparable to a traditional nuclear reactor, without the heavy regulatory burdens and high construction and operational costs.
Phoenix has designed and evaluated the performance of a new neutron imaging facility that will provide capabilities for both thermal and fast neutron beamlines, primarily used for neutron imaging. The description of the facility, neutron moderators and collimators will be discussed in this presentation. Detectors will also be discussed in the context of digital neutron imaging and computed tomography. MCNP modeling data will be discussed that demonstrates the quality metrics of neutron radiographs regarding geometric unsharpness, collimation ratios, thermal and fast neutron fluxes and content, detection efficiency, as well as expected imaging time as it relates to imaging throughput.
- Employ neutron imaging as an NDT technique
- Compare neutron imaging to other NDT techniques
- Evaluate neutron imaging supplier options
Why Is It Important?
Neutron imaging is a non-destructive testing method that provides detailed information on the internal structure of objects, especially those with high density exteriors, to reveal features that other methods (such as X-ray) cannot. Two notable Aerospace and Defense applications for neutron imaging include investment casting interrogation to detect residual core material and CAD/PAD devices where small separations, gaps, bubbles, voids, cracks, and fill levels are viewed using neutron imaging to ensure proper construction of such devices.
However, until very recently neutron imaging could only be performed at nuclear research reactors. Today, there are only a handful of reactors in the US that can perform this critical testing and as their numbers continue to decrease the aerospace and defense industries will face a bottleneck in manufacturing processes as the few suppliers try and keep up with demand. This is a huge threat to the industry in it’s ability to provide safe, reliable components.
Phoenix, LLC has developed an accelerator based neutron imaging system as a viable alternative to reactor based systems in order to address this challenge. The Phoenix system is electronically driven and does not rely on radioactive isotopes or highly enriched uranium to operate which would allow it to be safety installed and operated anywhere in the world. Opening in 2019, our state of the art neutron imaging center will be the first facility of its kind to offer commercial neutron imaging services by utilizing Phoenix high-intensity neutron technology.