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Leading binder jet 3D printer provider ExOne has announced that it has licensed a new method of additive manufacturing invented at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Specifically, the method relates to the 3D printing of aluminum-infiltrated boron carbide (B4C), a material used to make components for neutron imaging.
A step up from industrial X-rays, neutron imaging is capable of penetrating and picturing objects at an atomic level. By enabling additive manufacturing of B4C, ExOne hopes to unlock the production of new types of objects capable of protecting people and the environment from radiation.
Neutron - Imaging
Discovered in the late 1930s, neutron imaging relies on a material’s radiation to create images. A neutron source, typically a nuclear reactor of some kind, is required to conduct the process, and a collimator is used to shape the emitted neutrons into a beam. This beam is then directed at an object.
Material - Density - Way - Radiation - Detector
A material’s density will change the way it retains (or doesn’t retain) neutron radiation. A detector at the other side of the object to the beam collects the beam’s radiation and converts it into something more easily detectible. The detectible radiation can then be used, for example, to expose a sheet of film, and give an internal image of the object in between the source and the detector based on its attenuation of radiation.
“Neutrons can detect light elements, like hydrogen or water,” explains Dan Brunermer, Technical Fellow at the ExOne Company, “but they also penetrate through heavy elements like...
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