For most ordinary people, the only time they think about interacting with X-rays is when they suspect they have broken a bone – which is, of course, a situation that everyone wants to avoid to the best of their ability.
The fact that hospitals appear regularly in popular culture, with x-rays also being a hugely familiar and identifiable process that takes place in a hospital, means that they feature heavily in TV and movies of all kinds.
This creates a situation where, in the minds of most people, x-rays are something used prolifically in hospitals, and are largely unseen anywhere else – whereas for people with an interest or experience in manufacturing and industry, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Read on to find out more about some of the crucial roles and complex functions performed in industrial settings by utilizing the powers possessed by x-rays.
Industrial radiography is a crucial part of the quality control process in the manufacturing of many products, particularly those that rely on having not even the most hairline of cracks being present in the material.
Industrial radiography processes consist of firing a large number of x-rays and gamma rays at objects, which is ideal for quality control because it causes no observable damage to the product in question, while also being able to detect the smallest of faults with incredible accuracy.
In this case, the x-rays far outweigh the capacity of the human eye to spot faults, greatly increasing both the capabilities and the efficiency of important quality control processes.
Common, everyday products that are tested using industrial radiography include:
- Pipes for gas and oil
- Metal welding
- Piping in boilers
- Vehicle and aircraft parts.
Particle Size Determination
Another area in industrial settings where x-rays are utilized is with particle size determination. The process of identifying and measuring the size of individual particles and their distribution within a medium allows manufacturers of substances, including cement and cosmetic products, to accurately and effectively control the qualities of the final product.
This area of technology, called X-ray diffraction, uses a highly advanced XRD machine to measure the size of particles in a medium down to the nanometers, allowing for highly precise quality control processes that far outweigh the ability of a human worker.
Using such effective measurement gives manufacturers complete control over their products down to the molecular level, allowing them to produce the desired effects, such as how smooth a foundation feels to the wearer.
As far as the applications of x-rays in industry and manufacturing go, PCB Inspection may be the process that affects most people on a daily basis. PCBs, or Printed Circuit Boards, are found in all computing devices that people use, whether at home, work, school, or on their mobile phones.
These components are incredibly compact considering their complexity, meaning that when it comes to quality control, it’s difficult for a human to spot any poor soldering or misalignment with a magnifying glass, let alone with the naked eye.
This is why the non-destructive nature of x-ray photography is important, as it can spot these miniscule inconsistencies while leaving the fragile PCB intact.