When most people hear about ultrasounds, x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, their first thoughts tend to go to diagnostic imaging. For most of us, our only interaction with these forms of medical imaging involve heading to a facility like Fair Lawn Imaging in order to get a scan that the doctor has ordered.
While medical imaging is the most publicly known use for these technologies, many of these diagnostic scans can also be used in a variety of industries. Let’s take a look at some uses that are for industrial purposes.
Ultrasounds are one of the most commonly used forms of nondestructive testing on manufactured items. Nondestructive testing means that the item can be scanned in order to determine its strength or resistance to breakage, but the scanning itself does not alter the material in any way. Most metals can be tested with ultrasound testing, as can plastics. If a piece of equipment is used to test the structural integrity of wood, concrete, or cement, a lower frequency is used. Ultrasound is especially important in testing parts used for transportation, such as planes. The technology can also be used to measure the thickness of materials, which is especially important when it comes to monitoring the depth of welds.
The use of ultrasound for testing uses the same basic principle as for medical imaging. A transducer touches the object and transmits waves through it. Thicker parts of the object will bounce the waves back differently than thinner parts, and this information is interpreted by the transducer.
You might imagine a technician taking an ultrasound machine to each and every location in order to perform the scans. In truth, more often than not ultrasound testing will simply be another stage of the manufacturing process and will be computer-controlled.
X-rays were the very first form of diagnostic imaging discovered, but it quickly became evident that they could be used on an industrial scale as well. After all, if you can look inside the human body, x-rays could also be used to look inside other materials...as anyone who’s ever put their backpack through an airport scanners knows.
X-rays can also be used much like the ultrasounds we mentioned above for nondestructive testing purposes. Either x-rays or gamma rays are used in industrial radiography, and they tend to create images that are easier to read and interpret. Some materials — particularly some types of metals — cannot be imaged with ultrasounds and will require the use of radiography.
If a material can be scanned equally well by using either ultrasonics or radiography, ultrasonics are usually the default. In general, ultrasonics will be considerably cheaper and don’t require special shielding from ionizing radiation emitted by x-ray and gamma ray machines.
Do You Need Medical Imaging?
While we might not be able to image your rebar that’s buried in concrete, we’ll certainly use the proper techniques in order to get the medical imaging that your doctor requires in order to move forward with your healthcare. When you need diagnostic imaging in Fair Lawn, schedule an appointment with us!