SINE2020 and Industry
In July 2018, the Spanish company Tryo Aerospace, led by the Center for Advanced Aerospace Technologies, took part in one of SINE2020’s free feasibility studies for industry. They are one of the 33 companies that have applied successfully to explore neutron techniques as a problem-solving tool for their business.
Tryo Aerospaces’s wish was to use the non-destructive and deeply-penetrating characteristics of neutrons to probe the internal stresses of one of their Additively Manufactured space components. Understanding the internal tensions inside it would allow their design team to analyse how the stresses affect the performance of that component.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques often cause the appearance of residual stresses that can affect quality. These can usually be dealt with after processing, e.g. through thermal treatments, but sometimes, as in the case of Tryo Aerospace with their aluminium-magnesium alloy, a treatment like this reduces the mechanical performance of the alloy or material and so the stresses have to remain. It is important, therefore, to understand if this residual stress will cause a problem when the part is in operation.
In order to determine the stress profile of the component, neutron diffraction measurements were performed at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) neutron source in France. These measurements gave evidence of a heterogeneous microstructure, which might be further analysed by 3D texture analysis by our SINE2020 partners in FRM-II, Garching. Tryo Aerospace remains interested in the potential of neutron techniques to other viable applications too.
The industrial challenge within SINE2020
Industry is indirectly involved with Large Scale Neutron Facilities (LSNF) across Europe through many industry-sponsored research projects and groups based at the facilities themselves. Most of this research is usually oriented towards long standing collaborations between R&D departments of larger companies, academia and LSNF, within typical time-scales of PhD projects.
As an alternative, neutron centres also want to offer industrial companies the opportunity to solve the problems they have right now in their current or almost at market products and technologies through more direct involvement.
In this sense, SINE2020, offers free feasibility studies (Apply until April 2019). In order to assist industrial partners in this new endeavour, we help to ensure a smooth journey for interested industrial users, including assistance for applying and using beam time for measurements and providing expertise for analysing the neutron data. In addition, SINE2020 works on the convergence and improvement of user services and the gained experience from former experiments allows our neutron centers to adapt to the future needs of industrial companies. SINE2020 work packages are aiding this via:
- standardization of Data Treatment and instrument software to help smooth the transition from one Large Scale Facility to another;
- hands-on and online training suitable for industry employees (e-learning and Schools);
- virtual and simulated experiments (E-tools) to ensure adequate experiment preparation and efficient use of beam time;
- and finally development of high specification instruments (Detectors and Sample Environment) to expand the capabilities and range of problems that can be investigated.
Neutron based analytical techniques are not as familiar within industrial circles as other forms of analytical measurements but they could provide useful complementary information and unique results to help solve key industrial problems. Case studies revealing potential applications of neutrons can be read here.
Acknowledgements: Martin Boehm, ILL