The customer had a 36″ glass tube from a piece of equipment that is no longer manufactured, no longer calibrated, and no longer supported. It was a piece of a precision measuring instrument. They needed this borosilicate glass tube flowmeter calibrated. What a bind, right? Our customer called twenty different labs and executed an extensive search, but didn't land on a solution until they found Nel PreTech offering industrial computed tomography (CT) services in the Chicago area.
Want to know more about industrial ct scanning services? Here is another example showing our process of gathering 2D x-ray slice images and compiling them into a full internal and external 3D digital dataset. We can use this method to obtain a space measurement or volume inside of a part.
In this case, our customer had this borosilicate glass tube. It is part of a flowmeter calibrator used on the floor of a cigarette manufacturing plant. They use it to calculate the draw of a cigarette by reversing the pressure of the flowmeter. They attach a vacuum to simulate the draw. Essentially, we were calibrating a calibrator. Make sense?
We used our industrial computed tomography (CT) scanner with a cone beam x-ray source, x-ray detector, and 3D analysis software to measure the volume inside the borosilicate glass tube. The x-ray beam passes through the sample material, in this case glass, leaving an image on the detector screen. The detector converts the x-rays into visible light and records the image to be analyzed further with interrogation and measurement software.
What we found fascinating is that there are a multitude of uses for borosilicate glass because of the boric acid component making it durable and resistant to chemical change. It is also lead and BPA free, making it useful for cookware. Did you know the Hubble telescope uses borosilicate glass? Or thermal tiles on the space shuttle that protect it from heat upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere? Or aquarium heaters? The list goes on.
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