Supply Chain Management

Computed radiography used to explore the contents of NASA's GLACIER


Jun 07, 2009

Unified Testing Services (UTS), a member of the TÜV Rheinland Group, completed a computed radiography inspection of NASA’s GLACIER, a cryogenic freezer at the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering (UAB/CBSE).

GLACIER (General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator) stores experimental samples aboard NASA’s International Space Station. It is designed to maintain storage temperatures from 4ºC to -160ºC. The University hired UTS to verify the proper placement of active cryogenic components within a vacuum jacket. For the project, UTS chose to use computed radiography for the inspection because it allows for precise imaging and the ability to manipulate variables to produce a more enhanced picture. The company also examined the safe position of sensor wires and the absence of thermal shorts.

UTS traditionally uses the computed radiography system to evaluate the subsurface condition of precision castings for the automotive, aerospace and defense industries. The process is also cost effective for clients because the system does not require film to collect the images. At the UTS location in Woodstock, Ala., the engineers utilized a large vault to shoot large castings and fabrications with iridium and cobalt sources. They also had three X-ray heads, much like the medical industry, for smaller parts with thinner cross-sections.