Nondestructive strain depth profiling with high energy X-ray diffraction: System capabilities and limitations
Limited by photon energy, and penetration capability, traditional X-ray diffraction (XRD) strain measurements are only capable of achieving a few microns depth due to the use of copper (Cu Kα1) or molybdenum (Mo Kα1) characteristic radiation. For deeper strain depth profiling, destructive methods are commonly necessary to access layers of interest by removing material. To investigate deeper depth profiles nondestructively, a laboratory bench-top high-energy X-ray diffraction (HEXRD) system was previously developed. This HEXRD method uses an industrial 320 kVp X-Ray tube and the Kα1 characteristic peak of tungsten, to produces a higher intensity X-ray beam which enables depth profiling measurement of lattice strain. An aluminum sample was investigated with deformation/load provided using a bending rig. It was shown that the HEXRD method is capable of strain depth profiling to 2.5 mm. The method was validated using an aluminum sample where both the HEXRD method and the traditional X-ray diffraction method gave data compared with that obtained using destructive etching layer removal, performed by a commercial provider. The results demonstrate comparable accuracy up to 0.8 mm depth. Nevertheless, higher attenuation capabilities in heavier metals limit the applications in other materials. Simulations predict that HEXRD works for steel and nickel in material up to 200 µm, but experiment results indicate that the HEXRD strain profile is not practical for steel and nickel material, and the measured diffraction signals are undetectable when compared to the noise.