DMEX: X-ray tomography

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E2S: Energy and Environment Solutions
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DMEXX-ray tomography

DMEX is a service unit attached to the IPRA research federation and member of the Carnot Institute ISIFoR. Its primary goal is to provide high-resolution 3D imagery that responds to the needs of industry and academia.

Since January 1st 2016, the Pau campus of the UPPA posseses a cutting edge imaging center, equiped with two X-ray tomographs, financed by the University, the CNRS and TOTAL. One is a Bruker-Skyscan 1172 and the other a Zeiss Xradia Versa 510 with a very high resolution capable of visualizing the inner structure of natural, biological and artificial materials. The tomographs can render details on the order of a thousandth of a millimeter. In other words, fifty times smaller than the diameter of a human hair! The technology used is non-destructive and can be used to do experiments in situ, for example to examine samples under pressure or at high temperatures. UPPA's know-how and technical means are thus united around a single platform, which is a considerable advantage because it allows access to the computing center, specialized software and an 82 Tb storage server.

The center is open to the academic world and to any industrial client whose projects overlap with the research priorities of the UPPA. This exceptional technological platform proposes access to the tomographs run by trained operators, cooperation on research projects and services in imaging and image processing. "Our integration with the UPPA allows us to conduct innovative experiments and to develop innovative strategies for using the data, with the goal of promoting research and innovation", adds Peter Moonen, director of DMEX.

In its first year, DMEX collaborated with around ten academic partners and three industrial partners on a diverse set of projects. In one case, a flow cell for measuring the permeabliity of an stack of microspheres was devised in collaboration with the laboratory of mathematics and applied mathematics to develop digital simulations in fluid mechanics. DMEX also participated in studies on the presence of heavy metals in colza seeds, collaborated with the IPREM in the analysis of polymer foam used in construction, and worked with the LFCR to develop techniques for the structural characterization of geological reservoirs. Currently, DMEX is preparing to launch a research project with TOTAL on the wettability of brine, crude oil and rock system, a key parameter in the exploitation of hydrocarbons.

The DMEX team consists of its director, Peter Moonen, a research engineer, Pascale Sénéchal, in charge of operation and quality, and a technical officer, Fabrice Guerton, who works on instrumentation and client relations. This team is ready to accompany clients through each stage of their imaging project: preparation of samples, data acquisition and analysis, and producing deliverables.

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