Porosity Analysis with Industrial CT Scanning: Exploring High-Resolution vs. Low-Resolution Imaging

Dive into Porosity Analysis through Industrial CT Scanning. Delve into the effectiveness of High-Resolution vs. Low-Resolution Imaging for insightful results.

AJ Gradi
AJ Gradi

Porosity analysis is a critical aspect of material assessment, influencing the quality and functionality of countless components across various industries. Understanding and quantifying porosity are essential steps in ensuring product reliability and performance, making it a focal point for engineers, researchers, and manufacturers alike.

One of the most potent techniques in modern material analysis is industrial computed tomography (CT) scanning, offering unparalleled insights into the internal structure of objects without causing damage. This non-destructive imaging method utilizes X-rays to generate detailed cross-sectional images, providing a comprehensive view of the material's internal features.

Industrial CT Scanning


The process begins with the specimen placed within the CT scanner, where it undergoes exposure to X-ray beams from multiple angles. As these X-rays traverse the material, their attenuation varies based on density and composition, creating shadows that are captured by detectors. Subsequently, the data is reconstructed into a three-dimensional representation of the object's interior. 


However, a crucial factor in porosity analysis lies in the resolution of the CT scan. High-resolution scanning offers finer detail and precision, enabling the detection of smaller voids and defects within the material. Conversely, low-resolution scanning sacrifices some detail for faster scanning times and lower cost, making it suitable for larger-scale inspections where fine details are less critical.

High resolution CT scan of cement block
High resolution CT scan - porosity
Low resolution CT scan of cement block
Low resolution CT scan - porosity

In high-resolution scanning, advanced software algorithms meticulously analyze the acquired data to quantify the porosity within the material. By discerning variations in density, these algorithms identify and characterize voids with remarkable accuracy, offering insights into porosity distribution, size, shape, and connectivity at a micro scale level. 

Applications of High-Resolution

Porosity Analysis

The applications of high-resolution porosity analysis in industrialCT scanning are diverse and impactful across numerous industries. In aerospace engineering, for instance, high-resolution scanning ensures the structural integrity of critical components and composite materials, meeting stringent quality standards and safety regulations.

Similarly, in automotive manufacturing, high-resolution CT scanning optimizes production processes by evaluating the porosity of cast parts, welds, and additive manufacturing components. This helps enhance product performance and longevity while ensuring quality control measures are met.

Low Resolution Scanning

Conversely, low-resolution scanning has a larger partial volume effect when discerning porosity. The voids don’t always fit inside each scan pixel perfectly and will overlap. At lower resolutions, the pixels are larger and in turn will create more overlap between the surrounding material and the void. The analysis software needs to count a minimum number of voxels to execute the algorithms. The software also needs the ability to clearly see a difference in gray value between the material and background. With low-resolution scanning, the voids will be fuzzy, with no clear definition, and be similar in color to the gray values surrounding them. In the examples below, the sample object was scanned at low resolution and high resolution respectively, with essentially the same scan settings. Notice the difference in number, clarity, and even shape of voids.

Low resolution cross section CT scan cement block
Low resolution: CT scan cross section porosity
High resolution CT scan of cement block
High resolution: CT scan cross section porosity with same settings

Low-resolution CT scanning serves its purpose in scenarios where a broader overview is sufficient. In such cases, the benefits of faster scanning times and reduced cost outweigh the need for fine detail, allowing for efficient analysis and quality assurance.


In conclusion, porosity analysis in industrial CT scanning is instrumental in ensuring the quality, reliability, and performance of materials and components across various industries. By leveraging advanced imaging technology, engineers, researchers, and manufacturers can gain invaluable insights into material integrity, enabling them to make informed decisions and drive innovation forward. 

Request a free porosity analysis quote from Nel PreTech today!



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