ADVANCEMENTS IN NEUTRON RADIOGRAPHY WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center Picatinny Arsenal United States
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The radiographic laboratory within the U.S. Armys Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, is a known leader in the creation of new or advanced nondestructive testing NDT technologies and inspections. Within the past five years, neutron radiography NR has been a main focus of development where previous commercial off the shelf systems were inadequate to use. An increase in inspection technology was desired due to the rising need to have new measures to detect defective conditions to have assurance that a product works as intended and to ensure safety and reliability. The NR inspection shows the next evolution in nondestructive examination that many areas within the Department of Defense DoD require. The NR has the ability to image through and behind materials and configurations that are otherwise physically impossible to inspect with any other NDT method. This report presents the latest developments in neutron generator technology including advances in shortening exposure times, increasing image quality, and showing other viable attributes that exceed previous capabilities when using electronic neutron sources. The potential and subsequent uses applicable within the DoD require these new developments to make the inspection method practical. This includes the need for low-rate production quality control, reverse engineering, and testing throughout the development of newly designed defense systems. Specific examples of munitions and weapon system inspections will be shown as well as the progress and overall capability of this new technology. A brief review on the next stage in testing and planned phases to expand the NR inspection method will also be included.