Advancing X-ray micro computed tomography in Africa : going far, together

Du Plessis, Anton ; Le Roux, Stephan G. ; Tshibalanganda, Muofhe (2019)

CITATION: Du Plessis, A., Le Roux, S. G. & Tshibalanganda, M. 2019. Advancing X-ray micro computed tomography in Africa : going far, together. Scientific African, 3:e00061, doi:10.1016/j.sciaf.2019.e00061.

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X-ray micro computed tomography (microCT) is a high resolution non-destructive materials imaging technology and is emerging as a powerful tool for industrial and scientific research applications. The aim of this review paper is to present the capabilities and potential of this technique within an African context. This is done using a representative sample: all work done at the Stellenbosch CT facility during 2018 is used as an overview of the type of work done at such a facility in Africa. Besides the plethora of academic research topics, the most important industrial applications are also discussed, which assisted to keep the Stellenbosch CT facility financially operational. This provides a wider understanding of the opportunities and capabilities of this technique and how it can benefit African researchers and local industries. The question “what is it used for?”, and more specifically “what is it used for in Africa?” is therefore answered. The availability of such X-ray tomography facilities helps to fast-track research by providing local expertise and support in Africa for advancing African science. This model is not only applicable to microCT but applies to any collaborative scientific endeavor in Africa, with success rates depending on the efficient sharing of resources, providing expert skills and advancing African science in Africa. There is an African proverb “if you want to go fast – go alone; if you want to go far – go together”. Clearly, African science will go far by working together in such facilities.

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