For the past ten years IVW has been investigating 3D structures of composites by using non-destructive computed tomography. Through these works it was possible to gain a comprehensive knowledge in different areas of the structure-property as well as process-property relationships. This information is used by the departments Component Development and Manufacturing Science to simulate, verify and optimize complex manufacturing processes. The knowledge also is helpful towards investigations of damaged parts, to understand the failure mechanisms and to identify the reasons leading to their failures. In 2019, a Xradia Versa 520 was installed to further investigate the failure mechanisms of 3D structures through enabling in-situ mechanical testing (tensile, bending, pressure and temperature). A deeper understanding of fiber/matrix interfaces, esp. of carbon fibers, is now possible on specimens up to 300 mm in size. Thus, regions of interest can be imaged with a resolution of 500 nm. In contrast to computed tomography, the X-ray microscope uses an optical magnification in addition to the geometric one. As a result, for the first time materials of similar density, such as carbon fibers in polymeric matrix, can be clearly distinguished from each other. By using specialized software such as VGSTUDIO MAX and GeoDict®, the scanned material structure can be transferred in a digital model for subsequent virtual testing. This helps to gain a deeper understanding of fiber/matrix interfaces and thus enables tailoring these interactions towards their final applications.
The new X-ray microscope complements the versatile analytical activities at IVW.