Research finds new use for medical imaging technique in automotive industry

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A investigate by researchers during a University of Liverpool has demonstrated, for a initial time by OCT and picture investigate approach, a ability to quantitatively and automatically magnitude a size, series and course of steel flakes in industrially unsentimental vehicle paint.

Many of today’s cars are coated with paint that exhibits a lead or glittery shine. The accurate flicker and tone we see is dynamic by a placement and characteristics of little steel flakes used in a paint.

Image of OCT paint analysis. Image credit: Bryan Williams, University of Liverpool

Researchers have demonstrated a new proceed to analyse a steel flakes formed on a medical imaging technique visual conformity tomography (OCT). This proceed provides a vehicle attention with a unsentimental proceed to automatically analyze these steel flakes, that until now have been formidable to image, in sequence to urge a potency of a automotive finishing process.

Professor Yaochun Shen, from a University’s Department of Electrical Engineering Electronics, said: “This proceed could be really useful for peculiarity declaration processes used during vehicle manufacturing.

“The portrayal step is a bottleneck in a prolongation process. If a finished vehicle paint does not accommodate requirements, afterwards it contingency be private chemically and a vehicle totally repainted. This not usually costs time and income though also creates chemical rubbish and compared environmental issues.”

“Using this technique for monitoring in-line processes could also assistance automotive manufacturers improved know a whole cloaking process. With that improved understanding, a vehicle attention might be means to rise new cloaking processes or new forms of coating.”

OCT is a light-based technique that acquires real-time cross-sectional images with micron-scale resolution. Since a invention in 1991, medical applications of OCT have fast expanded, and currently doctors customarily use it to diagnose eye diseases. Because of a technology’s capabilities and fundamental practicality, OCT continues to pierce into new biomedical applications and is now being explored as a apparatus for improving prolongation and industrial processes.

The research, published in a biography of a Optical Society, Optics Express, shows that their process can automatically brand and perform 3D measurements of steel flakes that are only 10- microns in hole and 1-micron thick.

Professor Shen added: “When a vehicle manufacturer approached us to rise a new technique for examining a glittery flakes in vehicle paint, we felt OCT could yield a solution. We use OCT in a ophthalmologic investigate since of a high fortitude and since it can perform measurements but touching a sample. This multiple creates it ideal for a investigate a vehicle manufacturers indispensable with production.”

To picture a flakes, a researchers designed a 3D OCT instrument with really high parallel spatial fortitude to heed miniscule flakes and a high abyss fortitude to see a position and course of any one. Because a singular 3D OCT picture contains thousands of flakes — too many to be totalled manually — a researchers also grown an algorithm to automatically brand and report any splinter in a sample.

The investigate group is also operative to request OCT in other industrial contexts, such as examining coatings of curative tablets. The peculiarity of these coatings controls drug recover rates and OCT could assistance quantitatively investigate a density unity of these coatings and check for defects.

Professor Shen said: “Our investigate with vehicle paint and with curative coatings shows that OCT, that has been used for some time for medical applications, can also be used for industrial applications.”

The paper `Non-destructive Analysis of Flake Properties in Automotive Paints with Full-field Optical Coherence Tomography and 3D Segmentation’ is published in Optical Express (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.25.018614) .

Source: University of Liverpool

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