Art or technology

Art or technology? This is a metallographic sample from an additively manufactured component made of stainless steel after preparation for the light microscope.

© BAM, Department of Materialography, Fractography and Aging of Engineering Materials

We feel the surface of an object, look at it or hear what it sounds like when you knock on it. Perhaps we hold the glass or piece of plastic against the light and check whether the light shines through evenly or whether any imperfections are visible. We all check almost daily with the means at our disposal whether objects are in order. BAM's employees do nothing else when they carry out non-destructive testing. They also want to detect material defects without damaging the objects. However, they have many more and better means at their disposal for their work. And they test for a good cause. It is always about preventing damage and avoiding dangers for people, things and the environment. It is also about knowing whether the object, e.g. a building component or a bridge, will continue to function properly in the future. It is also becoming increasingly important to research the properties of newly developed materials. It is by no means always certain from the outset whether new industrial methods will produce flawless and above all safe components.

Together with partners from science and industry, BAM contributes to the quality of materials and structures. BAM's engineers, scientists and technicians use highly sensitive non-destructive testing methods for their work, e.g. ultrasonic testing, radar, X-ray computer tomography (CT), infrared thermography, eddy current and stray field methods, various spectroscopic methods, light microscopy or scanning electron microscopy. Images play an important role in non-destructive testing. Sometimes even pictures that resemble works of art are created in passing.