University of Manchester

Geology & Environmental Science

3D render of a volcaniclastic unit

Given the spatial heterogeneity of most geological samples, and the highly variable scale of dynamic geological processes, the ability of x-ray CT to acquire non-destructive 3D and 4D imaging of a sample can be of great use in a wide range of geological and environmental fields.

Moving from 2D analysis of thin sections to 3D and 4D analysis of rock volumes allows a wealth of new insight into geological structures and processes. We can undertake serial scanning of long soil, rock or ice cores up to 80 cm in length in a single session and have a wide range of in situ environmental rigs: including furnaces for heating up to 1200 C, tension and compression rigs with maximum loads of up to 35kN.

Image acquisition can often yield very informative results in many geological applications, but we also have the skills and expertise to assist users in more quantitative analysis:

    • sizes, morphology and conectivity or pores or phases
    • pore throat sizes and orientation
    • mineral phase volume % and distributions
    • principal component analysis for crystal orientations
    • phase contact angles, surface curvatures
    • flow modelling

The facilities used in the MXIF include synchrotron and lab-based x-ray nano- and microtomography, with access to other electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction techniques. If you wish to discuss any aspect of research in this area please contact Peter Lee to discuss your project ideas and requirements.